How to solve summer garden problems
All of us have problems with our summer gardens.
Many people who garden, whether they are a photographer or a writer, are accused of creating unrealistically beautiful images.
Sometimes we do. Because everything looks so shabby around the plant, I have found myself in difficult positions.
This summer, however, saw a record-breaking heat wave with temperatures exceeding 40C/104F. It was the first time that this had happened in the UK. We’ve also had a drought that was almost as record-breaking.
It has made gardeners and garden enthusiasts miserable like none other. According to one person I know, he’s so sad about his garden that he can’t talk about it.
These are the issues we all face – and how to fix them.
The lawn is the most common problem in summer gardens.
This summer has seen a record-breaking drought. Without the sprinkler watering night and day, no one in South East England has a lush green lawn.
We are now subject to a ban on hosepipes. There is widespread agreement that lawn watering is a wasteful use of water and time. It will bounce back when it rains if it is allowed to go brown.
The excellent news about lawns is that they don’t increase in drought. There will be a few whiskeryweeds popping up.
Too much mowing can cause grass stress. Reduce the frequency of mowing and use a higher setting for your mower.
A lawn that is in drought shouldn’t be fertilized. It is already stressed. Instead, relax and enjoy a cold beverage!
Learn more about how to have a less-than-perfect lawn.
Refrain from trying to clean up dead plants
A friend returned from vacation to discover that her three hydrangeas had died. She told her friend that she would remove the foliage and dead twigs, then wait to see how it recovered.
But Harry Baldwin, Borde Hill Garden’s head of Horticulture, advised me not to cut down any dead or dying plants. He said, “When in doubt, don’t do anything.”
This is something I have heard before regarding winter damage. Lucy Adams, Doddington Place Gardens’ head gardener, was my interviewee on how to deal with winter damage to shrubs. She also recommended minimal intervention. She advised that you wait until the average pruning time to prune this plant. The shrub was severely frost damaged and has since fully recovered.
According to the theory, plants will grow if you reduce their size. Pruning can help them regain their health. Stimulating growth can stress them more if they are trying to survive.
He did recommend watering them. It is amazing how quickly some plants can come back. You can find more of Harry’s tips to save dying plants during a heat wave by clicking.
Harry also stated that deciduous plants could go into summer sleep’ if they lose their leaves during winter. Although their leaves look dead and fall off, they can often re-grow.
A dead evergreen will likely remain a dead one.
Refrain from planting to fill in gaps.
The most frustrating problem in summer gardens is when a plant leaves a gap in its border.
There are better times to replant with new plants. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to plant.
Plants will need help getting established in hot and dry summers.
You can buy new plants or fill in gaps, but keep them in the same pots you purchased. Or, replant them into a larger pool. You can place the banks along the borders to fill in the hole. The foliage will cover the pot.
When the autumn is milder, plant the soil.
Water should be available for wildlife.
We may have problems with our summer garden. It can be life-threatening for wildlife.
Water is essential. Water bowls and bird baths can dry quickly on a hot day, so keep them topped up.
Dead leaves can be removed – depending on their location and the contents.
It is becoming less common to remove dead leaves automatically. The soil is fed by the decomposing leaves, which provide nutrients. Dead leaves can also be deposited on a border to create natural leaf mulch.
Trees often shed their leaves during heat waves so an early leaf drop could be a problem in your summer garden.
Some leaves, such as the Magnolia grandiflora leaf, are thick and leathery. They are slow to break down and can deprive small plants and grass of sunlight. These are swept up and put in a pile to be composted.