Summer is just around the corner and, generally considered to be the busiest time of the year for gardeners, preparing your garden for the warmer months is vital if you want to get the most out of it and make it shine!
Make the most of water butts.
One of the most economical things you can do as a gardener is to install a water butt. Water butts collect large quantities of rainwater, which you can then use to water your lawn, plants and flowers, instead of using tap water.
Ensure your water butt collects rainwater as much as possible in advance of the summertime because if there’s ever any likelihood of no rain for long spells at a time, it will be during the summer season!
As well as water butts being essential for environmentally friendly gardening, rainfall also happens to be the best type of water for plants. This is because tap water is often slightly alkaline.
When positioning your water butt, it’s best to place it underneath a downpipe, to ensure as much rainwater gets collated as possible.
Clean and sharpen your tools.
Your gardening tools should be the backbone of your gardening duties. Without them, you’re as defenceless as a garden enduring a summer’s heat with no rain for weeks on end! Just like a garden needs rain, love and attention, you, the gardener, need your tools. And you need them fully functional and able to do their job effectively.
Give your tools a thorough clean and sharpening to maintain their quality, especially since the most important season of the year for your garden is just around the corner! As well as helping you to avoid replacing them in the future, maintaining your tools can help prevent the spread of disease too. Dirty secateurs, for example, are notorious for introducing bacteria and fungi to fresh pruning wounds.
Prepare the patio, outside furniture, flower beds and borders.
During winter, there probably wouldn’t have been much opportunity to sit outside or dine alfresco. So, at the very least, your patio or decking areas may need a sweep to eliminate loose leaves and foliage that may have gathered around your garden. If you have any outside furniture, it would also be wise to tidy them up, especially if they had been moved into a more secluded spot during the colder months.
Another point in the right direction would be to give any paving stones a blast with a pressure washer to lift up any moss or dirt.
Clear away any dead leaves and rubbish from your flower beds and borders which have gathered over the previous months too. Tidy up your borders by trimming the edges and turn your soil to cultivate it and help plants thrive.
Eliminate weeds and pests.
Now, this is where your newly-cleaned and sharpened garden tools come into play! Weeding is one of those garden jobs which few gardeners relish. However, the results of doing so are plentiful, and it’s an essential part of maintaining your garden to a healthy and attractive standard (particularly those which grow from the cracks in between paving slabs, therefore ruining the appearance of your patio area). Getting the weeding done before summer is crucial if you want to prevent weeds from stealing the nutrients from the soil that your plants sorely require.
Another requirement for any good garden is to make sure it’s free of pests, particularly since flower beds are all too often the victim of their detrimental trespassing! A good tip if you want to be environmentally friendly is to cover your flower beds with something like crushed egg shells, rather than use toxic pesticides. Doing so will help repel pests such as slugs, who tend to love flower beds.
Best summer-flowering bulbs to plant now.
There are numerous varieties available of this extravagant flower, with a broad range of colours and heights to choose from. Note that the blossoms will become heavy once developed, so they will need extra support.
These tend to reach approximately three feet in height, and their sword-like foliage becomes bright green. Stalks of arching flowers extend above the leaves in the middle of summer, and the most common flower colours are red, orange, and yellow, depending on the variety.
Unlike their Oriental cousins mentioned above, Asiatic lilies bloom sooner, are fragrance-free, and are brighter coloured. Their flowers are not typically as large as Oriental lilies and their stems are sturdier, so they don’t require extra support.
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