Summertime Gardening Q&A with James

We caught up with one of our gardening team members, James, for an update on how we can look after our gardens and plants during the summer months. James previously gave us insight into some general gardening tips for National Gardening Week, sharing his expertise caring for our Nursing Home gardens across Shropshire and Cheshire.

Q. How do I deadhead my plants?

A. The summer season is your key time to be deadheading plants. As plants fade out of bloom, you can pinch or cut off the flower stem below the spent flower and just above the first set of full, healthy leaves. The dead flowers will be dry, and crisp – make sure you don’t take off the ones that are yet to bloom!

Q. How can I keep my lawn healthy during summer?

A. Your lawn will also need special attention during the summer. Normally, lawns should receive five treatments per year depending on the condition. From May until July, lawns will grow faster and regular mowing will help keep it tidy and encourage growth. A higher nitrate feed will also keep the lawn happy and healthy. Don’t mow your lawn in extreme heat, as it will damage its condition.

Q. What about clipping my hedges?

A. Fast growing hedges such as leylandii or laurel should be clipped down as necessary throughout the growing season to keep it tidy and healthy.

Q. How often should I water my plants in the summer?

A. You should be watering your plants frequently during the summer time, as we experience less rain and perception. Don’t over water them though – and remember to be water wise.

Q. Why are the leaves on my plant turning yellow?

A. This will be because of moisture stress of the plant, meaning you have either over watered or under watered your plant. If you have a plant that has yellow leaves, check the soil in the pot to see if it is dry.

Q. When do I need to pick my courgettes?

A. You need to harvest your courgettes from July or mid-summer, before they turn into marrows. With regular harvesting, this will encourage further fruits.

Q. What is the best way to care for my patio space in summer?

A. Remember to prop up your perennials such as lupins, delphiniums and gladioli to secure the growing stems. You will also need to mulch any borders so that they retain moisture and keep the weeds down.

Q. Is mulch the same as compost?

A. Both compost and mulch are key for a thriving garden and landscape but there are major differences between the two. Compost is an organic material in various stages of decomposition and mulch can be any material that you can use to cover the soil surface. The most popular form of mulch are woodchips, shavings, hardwood and softwood bark as these will retain moisture, keep weeds down and improve appearance.

Q. How do I prune my roses?

A. Cuts should be no more than 5mm (1/4 inch) above a bud and should slope downwards away from it so that water does not collect on the bud, this applies to all cuts whether removing dead wood, dead heading or annual pruning. Cut to an outwards facing bud to encourage an open-centred shape, with roses of spreading habit prune some stems to inward facing buds to encourage more upright growth.

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