We are well into summer, and by summer, I mean British summer. Long, cold, windy days with the occasional sunny spell. So it’s important we embrace it whilst we can. Fancy spending your summer evenings perched on the patio or decking with a nice beverage, admiring the ever so english sunset and you little garden paradise? Then it’s best you fix up your outdoor spaces and keep them ready for the unpredictable sunny spells. Summer time is renowned for bringing long evenings and this can sometimes hinder the wane of spring performers in your garden coinciding with the late arrival of their summer counterparts. Nobody wants to stare at the empty patches in their lackluster plantings – whatever the weather.
Thankfully, there are plenty of tips and tricks to keep your garden looking superb, full of life, or at least tricking the eye into thinking so. Here are ours:
Geraniums, delphiniums, lupins and centaurea are just some of the wonderful cottage classic garden plants that have the ability to re-bloom. So cut them back. Cutting these beauties back while they are on the wane will have you quickly seeing a fresh flush of leaves and flowering display (albeit a slightly smaller one). Repeat flowerings happen during the summer in a number of plants, many group two clematis in particular as do the majority of hanging basket plants respond accordingly to a well timed chop. Sun-loving plants (such as heleniums) will bloom from May to September with no intervention.
Plants that bloom with seeded heads offer your garden more diversity and depth, they add a new later on interest. They are less flowery and conventional, thus making your garden seem more wild, free growing and natural. The blooms of nigella, allium and nectaroscordum offer structure and interest but have a tendency to fade unlike long-standing flower discs provided by such plants as eryngiums, phlomis and stachys.
Front Border Fillers
Bold foliage is the quick filler answer that offers excellent space coverage when it feels like time is not on your side. A quick and easy way to do this is to sow some salad leaves in small patches and thank us later – mustard greens ‘Red Giant’, mizuna ‘Red Knight’, pak choi ‘Red Wizard’, spinach ‘Reddy’ and kale ‘Red Russian’ take effect in as little as 4 weeks. So if time is limited, try these for size and await their speedy impact.
Garden Centre Bargains
Eyeing up potential bargains at your local garden centre is a fantastic way to keep up with useful fillers for your garden’s gaps when they become much cheaper. Your local nursery is bound to be running some excellent green fingered deals this summer in an urgency to shift the summer stock. Perennials are a good bet if longevity is something you strive for in your garden. Some centres will sell beautiful pelargoniums very inexpensively and they can bloom profusely from late May through to November . BARGAIN.
Plant Pot Compilation
Dramatic, colourful plant pots amassed in a jaw-dropping display demand the attention of you and your visitors. Rather than having a diluted smattering of thinly laid floral displays for the eyes to skim over, cluster your plant pots for a fuller, more lively and admirable floral display. This will also distract the eye from any areas of your garden that is perhaps more dormant.
Work your plants in and around your furniture. If you don’t have enough foliage and flowers to purchase some cheap bits and bobs to fill the space creatively. Such as a little table and chair set for outdoor living and some little table accents to sit amongst the Garden plants you do have. This will not only look delightful and enchanted from afar, it will make a wonderful seating area to be amongst your gardening successes. This is a great excuse to exercise the inner designer should you wish, there are plenty of furnishing accents you can add to your garden and even DIY items you can knock up at home just to give your lackluster or sparse garden areas more flare.
Turn It Inside-Out
If you currently own any structural indoor house plants it may not have occurred to you but it’s a great and completely viable option. Move them outside. A dd jungle-like foliage to tropical borders with a large monstera, calathea or philodendron, or add exotic blooms in a flash with orchids, pelargoniums and hibiscus plants. Bold foliage and spider-plants work well for this way – with dracaenas and sansevierias are wonderful accents and bring instant height to your garden designs with their pots included.
*Remember to give plants time to adjust to the stronger light levels – position them in shade for a few days before moving any into full sun.
Lively foliage is a great all year-round way to design fuller looking borders that aren’t going to seem seasonally out of place. By including some zesty foliage of all colours, your garden will be protected against those very boring lulls and lack of colour that comes along with flowering woes. A well placed phormium, smoke bush (cotinus) or something within the same category will make you forget any lack of flowers.
Deadhead Your Flowers
If you are able to spare the time in your garden every few days or do so already – there are some excellent flowering options you can employ within your garden. Sweet peas, pelargoniums and cosmos will continue to bloom repeatedly if you are able to deadhead them every few days, this will allow you to thwart any signs of midsummer fade. This there there will be a constant push of colour through your flowering beds and it will remain refreshed regularly.
Green fingered friends, you are welcome.