Seasonal Gardening Tips
Here’s hoping we can enjoy the garden in September. The nights might be drawing in, but the days can still be warm and we might even have an Indian summer.
This month we’re looking at seasonal stunners that will make a difference to your autumn garden. These fashionably late perennials have been waiting for their turn to take centre stage, and now they are bursting into bloom, filling our gardens with colour.
Japanese anemones are always a favourite. Tall and bold, their simple flowers in shades from pink to white really celebrate the season. They’re adaptable too, growing in full sun or partial shade.
It’s Michaelmas Day on 29th September, lending its name to the Michaelmas daisy, or aster. This is a hardy perennial that flowers throughout September and October. Many are varieties of the New York aster. A succession of blooms gives asters long-lasting appeal, and they make great cut flowers too.
Verbena is another great performer, flowering over many months to earn its place in any garden. It’s hard to beat Verbena bonariensis, valued for its tall, branching stems topped with clusters of purple flowers. Its airy growth habit means it can be slotted in among smaller neighbours to flower above them.
As well as flowering plants, don’t forget that many perennials form attractive seed heads too, and these can be enjoyed right through autumn and into winter. Favourites include cone flowers, globe thistle, sea holly or Eryngium, agapanthus, and ornamental grasses. Visit Garsons for late perennials that keep colour and interest going well into winter.
Tips for planning and planting:
- When planning your borders choose a selection of plants that flower at different times through the year so there’s always something to enjoy.
- Plant taller growing autumn flowering varieties behind low growing summer ones so they’ll grow up above them once summer displays fade away.
- A cluster of three plants of the same variety can look more impressive than choosing three different plants.
- Repetition works well, so if you have a favourite plant then include several groups of it to help link different areas of the garden together.
- Leave old flowers on Verbena bonariensis to set seed and release this over the surrounding border to develop into new plants that will flower in following years.
It’s bulb time, but if you’re not ready to put them in, keep them in a cool, airy place. If you’ve planted any bulbs in bowls, place them in the dark and water them when the soil becomes dry, unless you’ve added bedding plants to the top, in which case, keep them on the doorstep or patio to make the most of the blooms.
As a general rule, plant bulbs at twice their depth and two bulb widths apart, or simply check the planting tips on the packaging for whatever variety you have chosen. Bulbs like good drainage, so mix generous amounts of horticultural grit to the planting hole or mix in with the compost.
The hardy plants at Garsons Garden Centre are guaranteed for life.
Ask the trained horticultural staff for advice, and visit garsons.co.uk for more gardening tips.
Attracting Butterflies and Tips for Flourishing Fruit and Veg
* Thanks to Mal Raynor from the Loving Surrey Facebook Group for sharing the lovely butterfly photograph with us!
July is such an enjoyable time to be in the garden, so sit back and appreciate it while the days are long and the weather is hopefully fine. You can still do weeding, deadheading, cutting back and tidying, but it’s not much trouble on a sunny evening or weekend.
If you visit the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show at the start of the month, you’re likely to come away fired up with inspiration, and possibly loaded down with plants!
This month we’re looking at bringing in the butterflies and bees. Many colourful flowers act like fuelling stations around our gardens for butterflies, moths, bees and other beneficial insects, providing them with nectar for energy.
One of the most popular is the Butterfly Bush, or Buddleja, a hardy and reliable shrub whose flowers act like magnets for butterflies. Dwarf and compact varieties of Butterfly Bush are now available that are perfect for pots or tiny spaces, with flowers in colours from pink and white to blue, lavender, magenta and deep purple.
Choose a range of plants that flower through the year to support different types of butterflies in your garden. Some flowering perennials provide long-lasting displays, with flowers opening over several months. These include varieties of Rudbeckia and Cone Flower (Echinacea), both valued for their outstanding garden performance.
Lavenders provide welcome nectar for butterflies through the summer months. Planting a range of Sedum, or Ice Plants, ensures more flowers develop into autumn to feed late-flying butterflies as they prepare for hibernation.
Tips for attracting butterflies
- Choose plants with different flowering periods to ensure there’s something in bloom through spring, summer and autumn for butterflies to feed from.
- Let patches of nettles establish in a wild or natural areas for breeding and feeding sites for native butterflies including Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Comma and Peacock.
- Avoid using pesticides that could harm butterflies, bees, ladybirds and other beneficial creatures.
- For more information check out www.butterfly-conservation.org.
If you’re growing your own fruit and veg.
Give them a boost with fortnightly feeds. A liquid feed such as Tomorite will do the job. Tomatoes should be ripening. Keep on feeding tomatoes and leave them on the vine until ripe and juicy.
If you grow any of the above bee-friendly plants, bees and other friendly pollinators will visit your tomato crops too and help them to flourish!
You can still sow seeds for spring onions, lettuce, carrots, radish seeds and beetroot.
Make use of your garden herbs, especially as snipping them back encourages fresh growth. It’s a good move to check all your seasonal fruit and veg daily to enjoy at its best. If it’s as dry in July as June, make sure they get plenty of water, ideally in the evenings.
Enjoy your garden in July!
Garsons Garden Centre at West End, Esher has everything you need to care for your summer garden. Their plants have been expertly reared and hardy plants are guaranteed. Ask the trained horticultural staff for advice, and visit garsons.co.uk for more gardening tips.
June Gardening – Tips for growing clematis
It’s such a pleasure to spend time in the garden this month, and June is often considered the peak of the gardening year.
It’s the longest day this month, so extra sunlight combined with warm weather encourages abundant growth.
The kitchen garden is about to come into its own, and borders are reaching their early summer peak.
One of our favourite plants for June is the clematis. From bold blooms to delicate nodding bells, clematis are versatile, colourful climbers. They are wonderfully diverse and happy to clamber up a trellis or be trained over a pergola.
New varieties of clematis are introduced every year. Most enjoy sunshine, but some, like the lilac ‘Cezanne’, from Raymond Evison, will grow in semi-shade. Large-flowered hybrids are among the most impressive, coming into their own during the summer, and these are joined by daintier varieties of Clematis viticella that keep blooming into autumn.
Compact Varieties such as Filigree & Bijou are perfect to grow in containers, provide ground cover or train up an ornamental obelisk; ideal for growing in small gardens and patio areas.
Clematis are often partnered with climbing roses and honeysuckle to create long-lasting flower displays, but vibrant combinations can be created with virtually any other climbers or wall shrubs.
Tips for growing clematis:
- They like their heads in the sun and feet in the shade, so try to keep the roots shaded and train shoots up into a brighter, lighter space above.
- Dig a deep hole so the top of the rootball is 7-10cm below the soil surface, and bury the base of the stems with soil. This can help plants regrow if they ever suffer from clematis wilt disease.
- Spread a deep mulch of compost or bark over the soil after planting to lock in moisture and keep roots cool.
- All clematis belong to one of three pruning groups depending on when they flower. Talk to the experts at Garsons to find out which pruning group your clematis belongs to and get advice on when and how to prune.
Jobs for this month:
Flowering plants can last longer if you feed them weekly with liquid tomato feed or Miracle-Gro. Pay special attention to those in containers and hanging baskets. Deadheading early summer flowers will encourage more blooms. Plant growth can be rampant this month, so tie up sweet peas and climbing plants to help them scramble up.
The downside of the new growth is all the weeds sprouting up. A little and often approach to hoeing and weeding will stop them taking over. Mowing your lawn regularly will help control weeds. Add a layer of mulch to your borders to keep weeds down and helps plants to retain water.
Garsons at Winterdown Road, Esher has everything you need to care for your summer garden including options for conserving water –
Let’s hope we have a glorious summer ahead. Until next time, enjoy your garden!
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