The garden is our haven from the stresses and strains of this currently unusual life.
The work of passion for nature, the outdoors and the desire to create a personal environment that can provide the most beautiful setting in which to relax – as well as put food on the table.
There’s a lot to learn with gardening, to the point that you’ll never know it all. So – if you’re in your first year tending to a new garden – here’s our handy top 7 of hints and tips to get your garden looking lovely.
1. Keep one eye out for Jack Frost
Our weather seems to be getting weirder and less predictable every year. So check the forecast and be prepared to protect your more fragile plants from frost.
2. Be kind to the good bugs
If you’re using insecticide to keep the aphids off your roses, or the winter moth caterpillars off your foliage, think about the good bugs.
Try and use treatments that are longer lasting and apply them at sundown, when the good bugs that you don’t want to deter have headed back to the hedgerows and aren’t buzzing around.
3. Sequence your salads
Tucking in to a homegrown salad is one of life’s summer pleasures. If you’re getting excited about endives and ravenous for rocket – stop!
Don’t sow all your salad seeds at once. If you do they’ll crop all at once and you won’t stand a chance at eating them all.
Sow little and often, so that you’ve got a continual supply of all those luscious leaves throughout the summer.
4. Cull the weedy weeds
Weeds steal light, water and nutrients from the plants that you want to see in your garden. Getting rid of them will make life easier for all the plants you do want to see.
Dandelions, thistles, stinging nettles and bindweed tend to have long tap roots. The only way to really banish them is with elbow grease and a hand-fork – digging them out and removing all the roots.
Do your weeding on a sunny day and leave the remnants to dry and wither. Stick to that routine year after year and you’ll find you have fewer weeds year on year.
5. Mow, mow and mow again
If you’ve got lawn and you want to keep it in tip top shape – mow it regularly. That means at least once a week throughout June.
6. Clean and treat – paths, sheds and pergolas
If your concrete pathways, fences, sheds and other garden structures have green algae growth, clean it with a pressure washer and proprietary algae killer.
Then (where appropriate) treat timber with a coat of creosote or other wood treatment.
7. Planting in, out, in, out and staying out
When it comes to vegetables, the ones you’ll be sowing now are runner and/or French beans.
On the herb front Chervil, Dill, Fennel and Coriander are all good to get in the ground – they’ll make excellent accompaniments to those lovely salad leaves too.
You probably have got some of your vegetables underway as seedlings. Begin by introducing them to their new environment in their pots during daytime and bring them in at night. Called ‘hardening off’, it means they’re more likely to take and flourish when you transplant them in full.
And last but not least, don’t forget to take time to sit back and admire your work!
That newly cleaned and spruced up garden bench is the perfect place to relax on a sunny evening!