Guest column: Sit back and relax, it's summer in the garden

Hollyhocks can be grown quickly and look great in a summer gardenHollyhocks can be grown quickly and look great in a summer garden
Hollyhocks can be grown quickly and look great in a summer garden
June is a lovely month to be in the garden.

With the evenings getting longer and brighter you can use your garden or patio as a great extension to your home, and just sit back and relax.

It’s at this time of year that lawns need to be mowed more frequently.

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Mow at least once a week and raise the mower blades when it’s very hot weather.

Don’t mow when grass is wet or during a drought and don’t collect your clippings during dry spells as this helps conserve moisture.

Keep watering throughout the summer unless there is a water shortage and repair bare patches with turf or re-seeding.

This is also the month to ensure that all your plants are adequately fed, particularly those in baskets and tubs.

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Plants benefit from a regular feeding programme as they are growing vigorously and need their nutrition levels to be kept up.

Slow release granules are a good idea for pots and baskets because they last for about six months and release food as it is required into the compost.

Container gardens often provide an easy and instant makeover option for anyone looking to take advantage of the summer months by utilising some outside space.

You can create a colourful outside living area that will attract wildlife such as bees and butterflies by using inexpensive yet functional containers.

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It’s best if you use the same or similar colours for the pots and containers and use trailing plants with abandon.

Letting plants fall over the side of the pots moves them into the background, hides any imperfections in your containers and puts the focus where it belongs, on the plants.

If you have inherited some tired looking pots from friends or family then plant some tall, dramatic plants to keep the eye from examining the containers too closely.

Hollyhocks and cosmos are tall plants that can easily – and quickly – be grown from seed or bought as established plants.

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As the temperature rises and mid-Summer’s Day arrives, here are few ‘must do’ jobs for the garden this month:

n Lawn mowing and management.

n Plant out summer bedding plants.

n Trim hedges.

n Look after your tomato plants.

n Pick first of the salad leaves and herbs.

n Keep on top of weeding.

n Ensure all plants are fed and watered.

n Pest control.

n Sow French and runner beans.

n Feed local wildlife particularly in dry weather.

n Sara Milne is consumer director and horticulture lead for Clareville PR.

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