River Wissey Lovell Fuller

July Gardening

August 2020

Did you miss us? We certainly missed you! Online deliveries kept us afloat whilst garden centres were stopped from opening by the government. It was an extremely frustrating time as we wasn’t permitted to trade, except online (seen as non-essential) but all around us supermarkets, garages and other places continued to sell plants and gardening products. However, it was definitely better to be safe than sorry and we have now totally changed our working practices at the garden centre to keep people as safe as possible. Firstly, when you enter our store take a trolley from the front (If there are no trollies available, we are at our safe capacity so please don’t enter) and follow the one-way system around the centre. Please pay by contactless card were possible. Our trollies are cleaned after every use, and we have gloves and sanitiser for you to use. All standard industry procedures as outlined by the HTA, but it’s a whole new way of working for us. I’m sure by the time you read this you would have already experienced this way of garden centre shopping. As we head towards mid-summer, the ‘busy’ spring gardening season is now over. The rush is now on to keep on top of watering, dead-heading and feeding to keep plants looking their best. Water regularly and thoroughly. Give priority to seedlings and young plants, also plants in hanging baskets, containers and those growing against walls and fences. A thick mulch (bark or garden compost) applied to borders will help lock moisture in the ground. Plants will need steady supplies of quickly available food now on, which can be applied as a powder or liquid to be diluted and watered directly onto the plants roots for rapid action. To keep summer plants and bedding at its best and to prolong flowering, it is essential to dead head. The purpose of dead heading is to encourage more flowering. Once the plant has flowered and set seed (so it can reproduce) plants are often reluctant to flower again. Dead heading, which is cutting off the spent flower head, forces the plant back into the cycle to produce flower and seeds again. With some plants it can be easier to take the shears to the top growth and very often a second growth and flush will follow, this technique is suitable for Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle), hardy geraniums (not Pelargoniums,) Chives and Nepeta and other herbaceous perennials. Make sure you keep on top of pests and diseases in the garden so they can be treated at the earliest possible stage before they take hold. Mildew is especially problematic in hot, dry weather, and red spider mite can be a real nuisance. The best treatment for mildew is to manage the environment. When planting susceptible species choose an open location where air can flow and avoid sheltered locations such as base of walls or fences, avoid planting too densely. Prune shrubs to form an open shape. Manage the soil by watering regularly, and applying a mulch to retain moisture. Don’t over use high nitrogen fertilisers as this creates lush soft growth which is more susceptible. Many people are growing vegetables from home for the first time and the most pleasurable task this month will be harvesting. New potatoes and mint, tomatoes warm from the green house, crisp lettuce, juicy soft fruits, nothing else compares to the taste of ‘home grown’. There’s still time to sew crops too, Leeks, Beetroot, Carrots, lettuces, and many other crops can successfully be sewn well into July. Rachel Sobiechowski BSc (Hons), P&R Garden Supplies, Fengate Drove, Brandon 01842 814800 www.p-rgardensupplies.co.uk

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