As we finally head towards the summer months, it’s time to enjoy the longer and hopefully warmer evenings in the garden.
Now is the time to clip those evergreen ornamental hedges and specimen plants such as Buxus (box) or the pyramidal shaped Thuja to keep their general shape. Remember before trimming any hedge you should check carefully for bird’s nests. Ensure your shears are clean and sharp before you begin as ragged cuts can allow for disease to take hold in any plant. After trimming you should give the plant a feed of general fertiliser (if they were not fed earlier in the spring) such as Osmo Pro 6 fertiliser which, with its high nitrogen content, will give a boost to your evergreens.
By late May the weather should be sufficiently warm enough to plant out the summer bedding. At this stage you should have hardened off any bedding you have grown from seed. The hardening off process acclimatises them to the cooler outdoor weather conditions. Those plants purchased at your local garden centre will have already undergone this process. When planting out your bedding, you should back fill the planting hole with some multi-purpose compost and add a measure of Horkans Colour Boost; a blend of composted manure and selected nutrients to give your plants a boost and brighter colour in the flowering season.
One of the most popular summer flowering plants in Ireland must surely be the Dahlia. Late May is your last chance to get them planted out if you are buying them as tubers from the garden centre. They like a rich soil so you should include plenty of organic matter, like fine garden compost, when planting. Be sure to water them in well. Make sure to protect the young shoots from slugs and snails using slug pellets as the newly emerging shoots prove very tempting to these garden pests.
The last of the foliage of the spring bulbs should have well died back by now and can be trimmed at the base and removed. As you begin your summer planting, don’t forget to take a note of any obvious gaps which you could fill with spring bulbs which would be planted in the coming autumn.
Over in the vegetable beds, your potatoes should need earthing up by now. Earthing up is usually done when the plants are approximately 15 to 20 cm tall and simply means drawing the earth up the stem of the potato plant to cover almost all of the stems and leaves. Earthing up increases the length of the stem underground and this in turn increases the crop of potatoes that you will yield. Normally you would earth up 3 times in the life of the potato plant and at intervals of approximately 2 weeks. For those of you growing potatoes in a vegetable bag or container, simply add more compost to your container to achieve the same goal. Just make sure there is adequate drainage, as you do not want your potatoes sitting in wet soil.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the water levels in the garden. Newly planted fruit trees in particular should not dry out as water is key in setting fruit. In fact, all new planting in the garden should never be let dry out while it is settling into its new home.
As temperatures rise, keep an eye on your lawn and, in particular, the colour of the grass. If it is yellowing at this stage, it is hungry and looking to be fed. Osmo Pro 6 is a granular fertiliser which can be spread over the lawn area. It is high in nitrogen which gives a greener lawn and is active in the soil for approximately 3 to 4 months.
Now is a great time to add some colour to your garden. Here are some of our Summer Bedding favourites!