Summer’s blaze of glory

2010-11-27 00:00

SUN, mist, fog and rain and longer days have got everything in the garden growing. This means paying attention to more than just mowing the lawn. Weeding before seeding is the best way to control these annual summer invaders. Regular pulling out or digging back into the soil is what is needed. When the soil is damp after rain the task is not difficult. Turning the weeds over with a fork and back into the soil was a much practised way of returning value to the soil, called green manuring. The pulled-up weeds (minus seeds) make a good moist layer in the compost heap.

Another chore at this growing time is checking shrubs with a view to improving their appearance. Perhaps some reducing of height and also some clearing of the growth in the centre of the shrub. Removing excessive foliage from inside and being able to see through small trees and shrubs gives an attractive openness to them and a freedom. This will not reduce the shade they give that the garden needs on hot summer days.

Where gardens are made under trees and shrubs this opening up will allow more light and air to reach the plants. Also look to taking off any low-growing branches.

Ground covers may be others which need some disciplining. These left unchecked encroach onto steps and paths and onto the lawn. Lamium (deadnettle), ivy, mints, erigeron and periwinkle all spread in the summer growth. Regularly cut off all dead heads on the annuals and roses. Daisy bushes and geraniums will keep giving new flushes of flowers if trimmed back regularly.

Ivy is good value in the garden and there are many of them to choose from. They will adapt to many duties; they climb, twine, spill over and ground cover; all are neat and evergreen. Available are those with large leaves and small leaves; different leaf shapes are curly, frilly, lacey, smooth and ruffled. Also available are colours and shades of green, also varigated gold-green and white- green. Ivy plants grows well in all sorts of positions. They endure hard, harsh and sunny conditions and also grow in semi and deep shade. Ivy plants are a recommended choice to cover harsh, bland cement walls. They have the ability to grip and cling and clothe the wall entirely. Ivy plants can help the gardener in many problem areas, keep them in mind.

The Star jasmine with its scented small white flowers is lovely now as it climbs, spreads and spills around the garden. As soon as the blossom is spent, trim and cut back this robust plant and keep it controlled through the summer months.

Some of the many plectranthus bushes are in flower, while the majority are growing well and filling with foliage. These may be trimmed back whenever necessary. Their preference is a spot in dappled and semi-shade, but they are strong and will grow in some sun. Some varieties are ground covers and this makes them useful throughout the garden. When these ground-cover plectranthus flower they fill their area­ with solid colour and make a special picture. These “bush slavias” propagate easily from rooted pieces which are plentiful around the base of plants.

Enjoying the sunny days and bringing bright patches of colour are the amazing Daylilies. These are such a gift to the garden.

Date to note: Today and tomorrow from 9 am to 4 pm, Tanglewood Nursery present its Daylily Dazzle. All welcome. Signposted from Crossways Hotel, Hilton. Further inquiries: 033 343 4203.

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