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  • Gardening Calendar for September

     

    September, a time of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness!’

    The days begin to shorten, and signs of autumn start to appear. Yet despite the trials and tribulations of this year, our gardens have seldom looked better. Something to do with all the time and loving attention lavished on them in this ‘lockdown’ summer both by experienced gardeners and new converts, who hopefully have caught the ‘gardening bug!’

    There’s still a lot of harvesting to do in both the fruit and vegetable sections of the garden, but our thoughts begin to think of tidying up for the approaching winter.

    So let’s have a look at those tasks to do around the garden:

     

    Lawns

    Time to raise the mower blades a little as mowing frequency reduces, to get the grass ready for winter and make the turf more resilient to the first frosts of autumn.
    You can also apply an autumn fertilizer high in Potash and Phosphates (but not Nitrates as this will make the grass too soft).

    It’s a great time to sow new lawns (or over-sow old ones). The soil is still warm and yet autumn rain is likely to assist germination and early growth.

     

    Vegetables

    Lots of produce to harvest this month! It’s a good idea if you haven’t already done so to cover your crops with netting to reduce damage from the birds.

    You still have time to sow salad leaves, radish, spinach and baby turnips, though sowings late in the month may need cloche protection as they mature. You can also be sowing broad beans and peas to overwinter and produce early crops next spring, but make sure you choose suitable varieties. Sow green manures to improve soil fertility.

     

     

    September is the time to be planting autumn onion sets and garlic. Time too for ordering rhubarb and asparagus plants to establish before the winter.

    Crops may be heavy now, so think about storing your treasure by freezing, bottling or pickling!

     

    Flowers

    It’s a time of change for flowers, with summer bedding schemes and containers beginning to wane. Keep them going by ‘dead-heading’ and feeding, but its time now to give a thought to your displays for next spring. Winter flowering pansies always provide some cheer in the dull grey days of winter and wallflowers not only provide a lovely background to spring flowering bulbs, but also provide delightful fragrance to welcome spring.

    September is the ideal time to plant your spring bulb displays in the garden soil or in containers. You can also purchase hyacinths and baby narcissi bulbs to force for Christmas flowering! Bulbs are so easy to grow and so very rewarding and most will flower for year after year.

     

    Fruit

    Autumn fruiting raspberries should be cropping well, as should cultivated blackberries and tree fruit like plums and apples.

     

     

    Maybe you want to extend your cane fruit area? Well, now’s the time to be taking hardwood cuttings of currants and gooseberries for extra bushes next year.

     

    Shrubs

    Prune late-flowering shrubs and rambler roses when they have finished flowering.

     


  • Hints & Tips for September

     

    In the herbaceous border, you can take and root cuttings from perennials such as fuchsias, pelargoniums and Salvias.

     

    Why not try saving some seed from your annual flowering plants? Many are producing seed at the end of the summer. All you have to do in dry weather is to pick off the seed heads, separate seed from the protective capsule and lay out on paper in a dry place for a few days until thoroughly dry. Then place them in a labelled envelope and keep dry and cool until sowing time the following year. It’s easy!

     

    In your strawberry patch, remove all traces of straw used to cushion the fruit to prevent fungal diseases as the straw rots down in the winter.

     

     

    We have talked about harvesting vegetables. Some people find it hard to know when their sweet corn cobs are ripe. Here’s a simple tip. Push a thumbnail into a seed as they ripen. If a thin, colourless liquid appears, the cob is not ripe. A thick, creamy-white liquid however means the cob is just right – and delicious they are!

     

     

    A final thought!

    September is the time to get your requests in for those colourful seed/plant catalogues to relax in autumn and plan another wonderful garden for 2021!

     

     


  • Garden Calendar for August

     

    August has arrived and our gardens are thriving in the summer heat!

    So far it’s been a fairly dry summer interspersed with periods of rain. We have to remember that water is a finite resource, so we need to be careful with our irrigation. Watering in the evening is ideal when it will not evaporate in the heat of the day.

    In March/April, so many early plants had to be destroyed with our garden centres closed because of COVID 19, but our nurserymen stepped up to the plate and now some areas are up a third on last year’s sales! That just shows how much we are growing this year!

     

    So, what should we be doing in our August garden:

     

    Lawns

     

    Raising the mower blade to its highest setting from now on will avoid too much stress to the grass in dry conditions. Current thinking is to leave the leaf cuttings in the grass sward to act as a mulch and conserve moisture.

    Green up the grass if necessary with a high nitrate liquid feed when rain is expected.

     

    Vegetables

     

    In the greenhouse, remove the main growing tip of tomato plants when they have formed 5-6 fruit trusses together with side shoots and lower leaves to ripen the fruit. Keep cutting cucumbers to encourage further fruit.

     

     

    Hopefully, outside, you should have an abundance of riches! Water and feed your sweet corn well to swell those delicious cobs.

    When trimming herbs, keep a few pieces of perennial types as cuttings and root them for new plants to overwinter.

     

    Flowers

     

    Continue ‘dead-heading of fading blooms and remember to keep harvesting cut flowers to maintain supplies.

    Trim lavenders after flowering to preserve the plant's shape.

    Save seed of sweet peas and hardy annuals like calendulas and poppies for use next year.

     

    Fruit

    Plant strawberry runners for cropping in 2021.

     

     

    Prune back the fruiting stems of blackcurrants and summer fruiting raspberries.

    Apples, plums and other tree fruit will be maturing so keep up with the picking.

     

    Shrubs

    Prune wisteria side shoots back to five leaves from the main stem. The flowering shoots of rambling roses can also be shortened by a third when flowering is over. Hedges can have a final trim before the winter.

     

     

     


  • From Plot to Plate

     

    Follow our Hints and Tips for your garden this August.

     

    A Well-Watered Garden

    Watering in August is important for camellias and rhododendrons to ensure good flowering buds for next year.

    This is the main reason for them failing to flower the following spring.

     

     

    Winter Cheer

    Give a thought to the grey days of late autumn and sow some pansies for bright colours and winter cheer.

     

     

    Eat more Veg

    Remove the growing tips of runner beans when they reach the top of their growing supports. This will encourage side shoots and increased cropping.

     

     

    Remove the growing tips of aubergines when they have formed five fruit to hasten ripening.

     

    Corn Cob Harvesting

    To check if a sweet corn cob is ready to harvest, push your thumbnail into one of the seeds. If it is soft and exudes a milky white liquid, then it’s time to pick those delicious cobs!

     

     

    Autumn Salads

     

    There is still time to sow leaf salads to keep those succulent leaves going right through the autumn and late crops of radish, carrots and turnips are still possible.

     

    From Plot to Plate

    Remember, vitamins in leafy vegetables can drop by 70% in just a few hours after harvest, so it pays to grow your own and enjoy the most delicious produce – from ‘plot to plate!’

     

     

     


  • When the only way is up! Vertical Gardens

     

    Whether you have a small back yard, patio or terrace or even just a balcony, lack of space needn't be a problem with a vertical garden.

    Vertical gardens can also be used to help cover up ugly fences or act as partitions in gardens of all shapes and sizes.

     

    Check out our range of simple ideas to create a beautiful vertical garden.

     

    Lockdown Ladder

     

     

    Easy to create with some timber offcuts or upcycle an old ladder. Great for beautifying an ugly wall or empty space. Lean it against or fix it to a wall or fence for the ultimate lockdown ladder vertical garden. Trailing plants work well here as well as creeping varieties.

     

     

    Tintastic plant wall

     

     

    Cover a boring fence or partition by upcycling old pallets and paint tins. Clean up your old paint pots then attach your pallet wall to the fence with hooks and fix your paint tin plant pots into place. Make sure to drill holes in the bottoms of your paint tins to allow for drainage then pop in soil and get planting!

     

    Living Wall

     

     

    Timber posts and chicken wire or a garden trellis and some terracotta pots are all you need to create a living wall that can act as a screen or partition or be placed in front of an old garden fence or garage wall. Erect your timber posts and then hang your chicken wire between them. Or for a faster solution buy a ready-made garden trellis. Next, attach your terracotta pots and add plants and flowers of your choice.

     

     

    Step Up

     

     

    For a quick and easy vertical garden why not convert an old step ladder! Paint the ladder in a colour to complement your outdoor area or leave natural if the material suits your area. Then just pop your potted plants on each step. Mix up the sizes of pots and the types of plants. You can also change the arrangements to suit the occasion or season - with warm sunny plants and even potted herbs and veggies like tomato plants in summer to Christmas hollies and winter pansies in the winter months. To add more space for your planters try adding some horizontal planks that span across the rungs.

     

    Gutter Glory

     

     

    Why not repurpose some old guttering to make quirky planters - just fix to a post or wall and pot your plants of choice inside - remember to drill some drainage holes first. You can mix different lengths of guttering or even add pipework to create an industrial look.

     

     

    Bucket Beautiful

     

     

    The humble bucket makes a great plant pot and you can use the handle to hang the bucket from a trellis frame or affix to a fence or wall. Take a selection of buckets - get create with different shapes, sizes and colours and choose your plants to suit. Add drainage holes and get hanging!

     

    Pallet Planter

     

     

    Create a small herb garden, adding fresh earthy aromas to your vertical garden. Just take an old pallet and use a weed membrane - cut and staple to create a bottom to each 'shelf' and then fill with multipurpose compost. Add your herb plants and then attach your pallet to a wall or fence.

     

    Pretty as a Picture

     

     

    Create 'living art' in your garden by using a large picture frame as a rectangular plant potter. Add a back and your choice of small plants then hang vertically on a wall or fence. Use one large picture frame or if your space allows, try hanging several frames of differing shapes and sizes. To water just use a spray bottle to lightly spray the plants.

     

     

    When the only way is up, let your imagination run wild and built your very own vertical gardens this summer!

     

    We would love to see your creative vertical gardens - don't forget to upload your pictures and comments to our social media platforms.

     

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  • The Great British Strawberry

    Nothing says Summer in the UK quite like the Great British Strawberry!

     

     

    Enjoyed with whipped or clotted cream, a scoop of ice cream, or just simply by its glorious self, there is nothing quite like a bowl of freshly picked, sweet and succulent strawberries on a hot summer's day.

     

     

    And it has to be British!

     

    British strawberries in season are quite simply the sweetest, juiciest and best-tasting strawberries of them all.

     
     

     

    Summer saviour

    The summer of 2020, unfortunately, is not set to be a typically British affair. Wimbledon may be cancelled along with the classic court side picnics and Pimms o'clock post-match analogies however that doesn't mean we need to forgo our favourite summertime fruit.

    There are lots of different varieties of strawberries such as the Sweet Eve which, as its name suggests, is popular for its sweeter taste. The many different types of strawberry plants allow the growing season to stretch from May right through to October - giving us plenty of time to enjoy these delicious treats!

     
     

     

    Homegrown Heroes

    Nothing beats the taste of homegrown, freshly picked strawberries - what's more they are so easy to grow! Strawberries can literally be grown anywhere - planted in rows directly into your garden soil, in pots or containers on your window sill, balcony or terrace and even in hanging baskets! So no matter how large or small your garden space is, you can grow your own this summer.

     

     

    It is important to water your establishing strawberry plants regularly - take care to avoid the growing fruit and buds which can cause disease in the plant. You may also need to protect them from the local wildlife in early summer as they take root. Try using netting or wire mesh to keep the birds and squirrels at bay.

     

     

    Another top tip for strawberry beds is to place straw or fibre mats underneath the plants. This helps to keep growing fruits clean and the beds free from weeds.

     

     

    Your strawberry plants should yield summer crops for at least 4 years before they need replacing - ensuring you a plentiful supply of the great British strawberry year on year.

    Strawberries sold in pots or packs can be planted as soon as you buy them or grown in their own containers - so there is still time to get growing this summer.

     

    Pick your own

    Ask any food growing gardener why they grow their own and they will tell you nothing tastes better than freshly picked fruit and veg straight from your very own garden.

     

     

    Strawberry picking can also be great fun too! And if growing your own seems like too much hard work you needn't miss out on that fabulous freshly picked taste. There are hundreds of 'pick your own' farms up and down the country for you to gather all the strawberries you can eat!

    So why not pull up a deck chair, grab yourself an ice-cold glass of Pimms and tuck into a glorious bowl of Great British Strawberries. Happy Summer!

     

     


  • Hints and Tips for July

     

    Clean and Tidy

    Think ‘clean and tidy’ in the garden. Regularly removing weeds, diseased leaves and any pests you find will result in increased crops of quality produce. Grass clippings and vegetable waste from the kitchen will be adding to the compost heap. Don’t forget you need to turn over the contents to aerate the heap and aid the composting process. Make sure you keep it moist. You can also buy a ‘compost activator’ if you want to speed the composting.

     

    Tomato maintenance

    If you have greenhouse or outdoor tomatoes, don’t forget to remove side shoots (unless they are bush varieties). This will allow more air around the plants and encourage better fruit development.

     

    Prune early bloomers

     

     

    Don’t neglect the herbaceous border in July. Cut back faded flower spikes on early blooming types, with some species e.g. Delphiniums, this can induce a later flush of flowers. You may be filling any spaces with new perennials, but if you want to wait for the autumn, you can cheer up and brighten an area with some colourful annual plants.

     

    Fruit harvesting

    Fruit areas will be in full production now. Remove any damaged or over ripe fruit to avoid fungal diseases.

    Remember the more strawberries you pick, the more will be produced!

     

     


  • July Garden Calendar

     

    Our gardening Calendar moves from June to July and towards the heights of Summer!

     

    What a year it's been so far and not for the best of reasons. If there is a 'silver lining', its how good our gardens are looking, courtesy of the time available due to 'lockdown'! Householders though, have embraced the challenge and our gardens are thriving!   Seedmen's sales of seed and plants bear witness to a big drive to 'grow your own' with people taking the chance to supplement the household budget with tasty, healthy vegetables.

     

     

    Remember gardening is great therapy!

    Let's have a look at your gardening tasks for July!

     

    Lawns

    Assuming normal weather, continue to mow weekly, though during a dry period, raising the height of the cutting is a good idea to reduce stress on grass. Should watering restrictions be introduced, don't worry too much, grass has amazing powers of recovery!

     

     

    Vegetables

    The veg garden should be looking great now. Make sure you are watering in dry spells and keep up to date with the weeding to maximise cropping.

    Crops are growing fast now so make sure you are feeding when necessary.

    There is still time to sow Beetroot and Carrots for autumn cropping.

    Perhaps surprisingly there is still time to produce a crop of potatoes for the autumn but make sure you use what is advertised as an ‘early’ variety. Aside from the garden you can plant them in raised beds, or large pots and tubs.

     

     

    Flowers

    The Covid-19 virus has made it a strange summer for gardeners and commercial growers alike. The closure of garden centres has made it difficult for all.

    If you were lucky enough to buy your bedding plants (or grow your own), then now is the time to be watering, feeding and ‘dead-heading’ fading flowers. However, if you were less fortunate, no worries, resourceful growers have been growing later batches of plants.

    You can even still find pots of sweet pea plants if you look around! Already have them? Make sure they are well supported and watch out for those slugs!

     

     

    Fruit

    Looks like being a good year for soft fruit e.g. strawberries, cane fruit e.g. raspberries and top fruit e.g. apples. Pollination of apples was very good with few early frosts – so lots of apples. The down side? You may have to thin out small apples for a decent sized fruit on maturity.

     

    Shrubs

    Time to finish pruning early summer flowering types. May and early June were particularly dry, so don’t neglect the watering.

     

     


  • Gardening Calendar for June

     

     

    ‘Flaming’ June?

    Well, let’s hope so! We could all do with a good summer!

    Time perhaps to realise just how therapeutic time spent in our gardens can be. Keep on top of the young weeds, it will save you a lot of time and energy later!

     

    Lawns - should be growing well now

    As long as you have not used a lawn weed killer, clippings can be placed in layers on the compost heap to assist recycling in the garden.

     

    Vegetables – keep up with those salad sowings.

    Sowing every couple of weeks for crops such as Beetroot, Carrots, Lettuce, Spring onions, and Radish will keep you in fresh tasty salads throughout the summer. It’s also time to sow or plant French and Runner beans and there’s still time to sow Courgettes.

    Remember, if you do not feel confident or do not have time to ‘sow your own’, you can buy plants from seed suppliers online or from your local garden centre.

     

     

    Flowers

    Now the frost season is over its time to plant out those tender bedding plants and put out the hanging baskets.

    Think about next year too as its time for sowing biennials like Wallflowers and perennial flowers such as Delphiniums and Hollyhocks.

    Roses will be coming into flower. Make sure you ‘dead head’ fading flowers to keep the new ones coming.

     

     

    Fruit

    It’s a good idea to net the young fruit of Strawberries – you don’t want to share too many with the birds!

     

    Shrubs

    Some of the early summer flowering types will have finished flowering now, so it’s a good time for pruning them.

     


  • Hints and Tips for June

    The days are longer now and the sun higher with temperatures rising, so don’t neglect the watering.

     

    Watering

    In dry conditions water in the evening and don’t just spray round with the hosepipe. Watering like this just evaporates the following morning and does not reach plant roots. Rather, choose different areas of the garden each time and give it a good soaking. Don’t forget that house plants use more water in the summer.

     

    Grow your own

    If space is a problem for you, you can grow tasty, healthy leaf salad mixtures in seed trays or pots on the window sill or on the patio. Leafy vegetables can lose 70% of their vitamins in as little as 2-3 hours – so it makes sense to ‘grow your own.’

     

     

    When choosing Runner Beans, try the new Runner/French bean crosses. They extend the picking season by cropping earlier and later and produce larger crops. Try ‘Snowstorm’ (white-flowered), or ‘Firestorm’ (red flowered).

    If you have not chosen your Tomatoes yet, look for ‘Grafted’ plant varieties online with seed companies or in garden centres. They are more disease resistant and produce much higher yields.

     

     

    Don’t forget to feed plants.

    Look for ‘slow release’ granular fertilizers. These are formulated to supply the plants requirements right through the summer – they certainly make life easier!

    Remove the ‘runners’ from strawberry plants, they take energy from the plant and reduce yields.

     

    Bloom and Bloom

    ‘Dead heading‘ bedding plants can be an arduous task, but a necessary one to keep the plants blooming. Plant breeders are coming to the gardeners' aid by introducing varieties that do not produce seed yet continue to try to, hence they bloom and bloom until the first frosts – and you don’t have to ‘dead head’. Look for Begonia Non-Stop or Marigold Zenith as examples. We are all for making gardening easier!

     

     


     

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