“That beautiful season the Summer!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
And the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Summer is the time that all the hard work and planning of earlier seasons comes to fruition.
The long days and balmy evenings will see the traditional English country and cottage gardens at their best, with earlier flowerings of Poppies, Delphiniums, Peonies and Aquilegias to be followed by Hostas, Japanese Anemonies, Rudbeckias and Heleniums to name but a few.
Cutting down the stems of early plants such as Lupins may lead to a second blooming in late summer and dead heading repeat flowering roses such as the fragrant “Claire Austin” is beneficial.
The fresher air in the evening is perhaps the best time to enjoy sweetly scented Honeysuckles and Nicotianas
Bright and colourful summer bedding like Geraniums and Busy Lizzies can highlight decorative tubs whilst Petunias and Nemesias may be found in hanging baskets. Keeping a few Begonias to hand in pots can be a useful way of plugging any gaps that may appear in herbaceous borders until a more permanent solution can be found in the autumn.
Watering may become necessary during a prolonged dry spell, a thick organic mulch will help to retain moisture and if seed free deter weeds from germinating. If the lawn starts to turn brown raise the cutting height of your mower and cut less frequently.
Watering is best done at night when evaporation is less and there is little risk of scorching or better still install some sub-surface irrigation.
Do not be afraid of pruning back plants that are starting to obstruct paths or gateways and do make a note of any possible changes or improvements for future reference.
By Tim Brayford