Fiveways gardens...June 2015

Unexpected gaps often appear at this time of year.  Plants, as living things, have a limited life span and don't live forever.  Every year we need to top up our plants and that can either mean an opportunity to try something new, or replace a lost favourite.  It's not always a good idea to replace like for like.  If you've lost a shrub or tree, look it up on a site like the RHS and you'll find advice about replanting the same plant in the same place.  It's also worth thinking about thinning out some of the more vigorous border plants that can take over if left unchecked. 

Garden centres and nurseries are full of beautiful summer-flowering bedding now, and these plants can really make the borders sing, and often will last well into late summer or even autumn.  Don't forget to grab some annual climbers too, to fill gaps on fences and trellis.  Climbers are tough for garden centres to keep looking good, so tend to sell through fast, so get in quick.  Most summer bedding and climbers prefer a warm sunny spot, but there are a few annuals that don't mind some shade.  Ask in the nursery, but Begonias - there are some lovely new varieties - Ageratum, Nicotiana and even some lobelias often do well in the shade.
Prune Forsythia and Ribes, flowering currant, if you haven't already.  Both can be cut back hard, if they are beginning to outgrow the space available.  It's been an early season this year, because there was hardly a winter, so it may be that by the time you're reading this some other early flowering shrubs have done their thing, and will benefit from pruning too.
As things heat up over the summer, it's worth remembering to keep watering new shrubs and trees - hot windy days take loads of water out of plants.  For small to medium trees give 2-3 watering cans of water twice a week in dry spells - this encourages roots to reach down and out in search of water, and thus become stronger plants, less susceptible to drying out.  Also, water away from the stem or trunk to encourage roots outwards.  Even when it rains, bear in mind that your trees and shrubs act as umbrellas and water often barely penetrates the surface.  A few pounds spent on landscape fabric and a few inches of mulch, either decorative such as cobbles or well rotted compost or manure, will help too.  Mulch containers with horticultural grit or other decorative stone - it really will cut down the watering and keep your pot plants in better shape.  Consider installing or getting someone else to install an irrigation system.  If done properly they are a very efficient way of using water, even more important now that most of us are on water meters.  

Best wishes


Office: 01273 500407 Mobile: 07957 751218