Gardening: Stay blooming great in the heat

Picture: PA

Picture: PA

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LONG, hot, summer days are yearned for all year here in Edinburgh as we battle nippy autumns and winters.

But when the beautiful weather does arrive – allowing us to make the most of sitting out in our gardens and patios – we mustn’t get carried away and forget about the wellbeing of our plants.

It is true that glorious sunshine makes a particular treat for locals, but a hot dry spell –which often follows on from a cold and dry spell – means we can see signs of moisture stress in both our garden plants and on our lawns.

Remember to keep watering thoroughly and don’t forget your containers and hanging baskets. Keep them going with a high potash feed.

Also consider nourishing your lawn with nitrogen-rich feed. If you have tried this already, without success, try an all-in-one feed and weed treatment. Remember to water it in if it doesn’t rain within two to three days after application.

Now is a good time to prune shrubs that have already flowered. Applying a feed here will give a boost to ensure good flowering next year. Remove the dead flower heads from annuals to keep them growing and perennials, unless you wish them to set seed. Feed roses with a foliar feed or top dress rose beds with manure.

Tomato plants should be fruiting now, so take care to ensure your grow bags don’t dry out as they are notoriously difficult to re-wet. Application of liquid tomato feed will help ensure a substantial crop. Make a point of harvesting ripe fruits timeously in order to ensure you enjoy them at their best. And, remember to keep plants well-supported as they get heavily laden with fruit.

Remember, too, our feathered friends. Keep fresh water available for them to bathe in and drink and stock up feeders and bird tables.

Then relax. When the sun shines, we should take time out to get the barbecue going, have a picnic on the lawn or simply lie back and enjoy.

After all, summer will fly by.

• Pete Brownless is Garden Supervisor, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

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