With the summer well and truly here, lighter and warmer days see us spend more time in our gardens than any other season. The change in seasons presents new challenges and opportunities to keep our gardens looking their best.
Whether you’ve recently moved home and are putting a personal touch on your new garden, or are looking to breathe new life into your existing garden, we’ve asked RHS Chief Horticulturalist Guy Barter to share his top tips for Summer time gardening.
SUMMER TIME GARDENING TIPS FROM CHIEF HORTICULTURALIST, GUY BARTER
Continuing on from spring gardening tips, Guy Barter, RHS Chief Horticulturist has provided 5 top tips for summer gardening:
1. Hedge cutting can be completed and there will be some useful regrowth to make the hedge look good in winter. Conifer hedges can suffer dieback if pruned in October so these should have priority. Be sure to check the hedge for nesting birds before trimming as some nest until September.
2. In many regions the soil is very dry despite recent rain. A good soak every 10-14 days will usually be sufficient, and it is likely watering now will carry plants through until the autumn rains arrive. At least two watering cans per square metre will be required. Ideally use water from water butts or grey water (wastewater from kitchen or bathroom).
3. Lawns will be growing well in most regions with recent rain and regular mowing will be necessary, unless a wilder lawn is being grown where the flowers and grasses are not mown until September to allow grass and flower seeds to fall.
4. Summer pruning can be finished off with earlier flowering shrubs such as brooms and philadelphus being cut back. Lavenders too will soon need attention when flowering finishes. Whippy wisteria growth is also shortened now.
5. Deadhead tender plants rigorously as this, and supplementary feeding for potted plants, keeps the flowering going until autumn. Seed heads suppress further flowering. Exceptions include plants where seed is to be collected or where the seedheads look good in frost, agapanthus for example.
MUST SEES AT RHS GARDEN WISLEY THIS SUMMER
Summer is the ideal time to visit RHS Garden Wisley with scenic views at every turn. Three must sees this month are:
Hydrangeas on Battleston Hill
From mid-summer onwards, dazzling displays of Hydrangea paniculata light up the broadwalk of Battleston Hill, with their large, ice cream cone blooms. One stand-out cultivar is Vanille Fraise (‘Renhy’), producing masses of creamy white flowers that mature to a glorious strawberry-pink. At the top of the hill, mophead hydrangeas flower in myriad colours.
During the summer, the plants in the Mixed Borders blend effortlessly to produce an intriguing display of colour and form, height and structure. There are many herbaceous border favourites to spot including agapanthus, salvia and phlox, as well as half hardy plants, such as dahlia, Leonotis and penstemon, to increase the wow-factor. Small Lagerstroemia trees flower alongside their herbaceous neighbours and enjoy the summer heat of Wisley.
The World Food Garden
The World Food Garden is burgeoning with produce from all over the world right now, providing visitors with plenty of ideas for new flavours and crops to try. Completed just 2 years ago, this area was developed from an old storage yard and takes its lead from traditional kitchen gardens, with a contemporary twist. Exotic edibles are mixed with classic fruit and vegetables in three zones near RHS Hilltop, whilst arching metal pergolas provide upright structure with a purpose, as supports for gourds and climbing vegetables.