Spring may be a busy time for gardeners but come summer there is still plenty to be done. Here are a few gardening tips to keep your outdoor haven blooming marvellous throughout the summer months.
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After the much-needed April showers and unseasonably cold May weather, with any luck the frosts will have passed and June will bring with it a little sunshine and warmth. That means some of the more fragile plants can finally get their moment in the sun.
Early summer is the perfect time to plant containers such as pots, window boxes and hanging basket, but be sure to keep them fed and watered as the summer weather kicks in. Now is also the time to plant autumn-blooming bulbs, while hardy annuals, shrubs bedding plants can be transferred to the garden.
However, do remember to water well to give your plants the best chance of a bloom-filled summer. Try soaking the rootball in a bucket of water until air bubbles stop coming to the surface, then planting in a ready-made hole and watering. Early morning or evening planting is best to allow the plants to take water from the soil without struggling against the summer sun.
Allotment-holders may already be seeing the fruits of their labour, with rhubarb and early cabbages well underway but, providing the frosts are over, veg-growers can start adding to their crop with young leeks, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, winter cabbages and tomatoes.
Throughout the summer, deep watering is advisable, rather than a gentle spritz every day. This encourages the roots to dig down in search of water instead of staying near to the soil surface for their daily drink.
Keep a keen eye on pests too - invest in a good book so that you know which are friend or foe and take action against harmful bugs. Adding a bird bath to your garden will hopefully attract helpful small birds who are adept at keeping your pest population under control.
You should continue to dead-head throughout this early summer period. Removing old blooms from containers, beds and borders means your plants will put all their energy into producing new flowers, keeping your garden bright and colourful throughout the summer. Add a liquid feed occasionally to keep them in tip-top shape.
Early-flowering plants such as Rhododendrons, camellias and lilacs can be pruned once their blooms are over. Such shrubs set next season's bloom as soon as this year's have gone so prune and shape to your heart's content.
Seedlings should also be thinned during the early summer to ensure that healthy, robust plants continue to develop.
The recent wet weather may have sent your lawn into overdrive but ensure to gradually lower the cutting height in order to keep the grass healthy. Early summer is a good time to add lawn feed, particularly if the weather turns dry, while aerating will help your grassy areas to take up moisture as well as improve drainage.
Above all, make the most of your garden and get outside to enjoy all your hard work as much as the weather will allow!