Rosie shares her gardening tips and know-how.
Lawns. Keep mowing fortnightly or whenever you can, in between the showers! As we have had such a lot of rain over the summer and the ground is reasonably soft, now is the perfect time to aerate your lawn. The ground can become impacted over time so it helps to get some air into it. You can do this by making holes three or four inches deep, with a large garden fork. This is hugely beneficial for your lawn but hard work. There are, however, implements you can buy that make the job easier. My husband has a pair of aerators that he straps to the bottom of his shoes (rigid plastic soles with spikes underneath) and he walks up and down the lawn, with his headphones on, listening to his music.
Scarifying. Another job that can be done this time of the year. This is getting rid of – or at least reducing – the moss and thatch that accumulates in our lawns. This can be done with a rake but again is very hard work and time consuming, so if it is possible to buy or borrow an electric scarifier, it would make the job much easier. When you’ve done this as thoroughly as you can, sprinkle with an autumn lawn feed.
Pruning. The birds have finished nesting now so hedges can be cut without being disturbed. Continue to dead-head roses and bedding plants and cut the majority of your spent flower stalks down to the ground, trying to leave a few so the seeds can ripen for the wildlife to feed on. Remember to leave the leaves until they die down so that the goodness from them can go back into the plant.
Feeding and planting. Continue to feed bedding plants. It is a good rule of thumb to feed your plants from April to September and then to start again in the spring. While the ground is still quite warm it is a good time to plant. It’s also a good time of year to split clumps of hardy perennials – plants that come up year after year – with a spade or large fork. You then have a new plant that didn’t cost you anything, to put somewhere else in your garden or give to a friend or neighbour. If the rain does subside this month, keep your rhododendrons and camellias well watered because it is now that their flower buds are forming.
Weeding. With all this warm, wet weather, the weeds are having a wonderful time but try not to give up. It could feel that you are losing the battle with your established patch of bindweed but try to take heart and continue to cut it down to short shoots and keep spraying it monthly with your biodegradeable weedkiller. Always remember to be careful not to spray surrounding plants. Hold other plants back with a brick or piece of wood, or cut off some of the leaves or stems of the good plant, in order to keep it away from the weedkiller. It will take a few seasons but it really is possible to reduce the weeds in your garden so that it doesn’t feel overwhelming any more and so that it looks beautiful for longer.