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How are you enjoying summer so far? I am loving my herbaceous borders! I find it such a joy to see all the plants put on growth and then burst into flower.
My clematis is looking wonderful, even the Clematis Armandii that we put in last year.
This one is a winter flowering variety, but the foliage alone is spreading rapidly to cover a once very bare part of the fence.
My very favourite in the border is the Verbena Bonariensis. Standing tall at the back of the border with its very dainty delicate flowers but it has very vibrant tones.
After having such a long spell of hot dry weather, it was nice to have a recent downpour to refresh everything.
The grass is looking grateful but I’m sure it won’t be for long with more hot weather forecast.
If you have grown tomatoes this year, it will have been a challenge so far to keep on top of watering. This is one of the major issues that can cause problems like cracking and blossom end rot.
If growing cordon tomatoes in the greenhouse, I always plant the tomatoes directly into the ground. Using overhead wires to twine string from the base of the stem to tie up above onto the wires.
This way, if you wish, it is possible to get more from the plant. Once the cordon tomato reaches the top of the wire it can be dropped down slightly so the stem comes up on an angle and then it can be tied a little further along the wire, remove any lower leaves at this stage up to the first truss.
Keep on removing sideshoots and feeding the plants and keep on top of watering!
If the greenhouse is in direct sun add shading to prevent the leaves from getting scorched.
Another reason to water early morning and then the evening in case the leaves get wet. There’s nothing better than pottering on an evening, watering and checking the plants. Then to put them to bed for the night.
Carrots can be grown still, be aware of carrot fly when thinning.
Lettuce, Radish, French Beans too, these are all crops that mature quickly for a good harvest this summer.
Spring cabbage can also be sown now, one of my favourites!
Leafy greens are so good for you and full of B vitamins.
Now is the time to sow spring flower seed such as, Aquilegias, Delphiniums, Foxgloves and Lupins.
Keep deadheading to prolong flowering, my favourite flowers to deadhead are Marigolds, the smell is amazing!
Keep an eye on rose suckers, they shoot up from the bottom of the plant, from the rootstock. If these are left, they will take over, carefully remove them. The leaves will be noticeably different from the lighter and different shape.
Wisteria can be pruned now for the second time; this will ensure it will flower next year. Wisterias are beautiful but do require quite some work to keep them in check.
Tendrils from the summer growth can be cut back to around 15cm.
Now is a great time to enjoy the fruits of your labour. We are enjoying plenty strawberries at the moment. I must say, they are not making it into the house though!
Keep harvesting courgettes, they are at their best while they are small.
Keep an eye on weeds and keep on top. It just takes a bit of rain and more sunshine and it becomes a huge job.
It is absolutely worth being on top, not only to ensure the ground looks nice, but also to keep pests and diseases at bay.
Now is a good time to plant bulbs for Autumn.
Nerine bowdenii is one of my favourites, one of the first ones I learnt about when studying horticulture at college, they are just stunning.
Amaryllis and Colchicum are others to try.
If need be stake perenninials to prevent them falling over.
Ensure you tie carefully by tying string around the cane then around the plant stems and then tie on to the cane finally. This way the stems will not get crushed.
Enjoy picnics, BBQ’s, sitting outdoors in the evening, the smell of freshly cut grass, watching the bees and take time for yourself.
Where we will be talking about Trimming hedges, tomato blight, taking softwood cuttings and propagating strawberry plants.