The Great British Summer can be unpredictable at the best of times, but for those occasional (and thoroughly enjoyable) hot summer days, keeping up with your gardening tasks is a great excuse to get outside.
Here's a list of our top jobs to keep on top of in the summer to keep your garden looking luscious and green.
1. Keep Your Lawn Healthy
Lawn care is a year-round activity and during dry summer spells your grass can require a little extra maintenance. If the weather gets particularly warm and there has been no rainfall for several days, apply a generous amount of water to your lawn once a week until the weatther levels out again. Infrequent and heavy watering is better than frequent light watering as it encourages deeper roots to develop, which in turn will make your lawn more resistant to drought. When trimming the grass, raise the cutting height so long blades of grass are kept intact. This will help keep the lawn green. If your lawn has had lots of use from parties and children's games, practice hollow tining to mitigate the compaction of the soil caused by over-use. A mechanised aerator is recommended for large lawns. For small lawns a garden fork can do the same job (although it can still be hard work on all but the smallest lawns).
2. Prevent Disease
With any plant it's important to keep an eye out for diseased leaves to remove and prevent the problem spreading. Pick them off to reduce the spread of disease. Avoid mixing diseased foliage in your compost bin, diseased leaves are best put in the household bin.
3. Boost Your Roses
If your garden is full of roses, these will require regular deadheading and feeding throughout the summer to help them flower as long as possible. Cut the spent flowerheads off with sectors, cutting just above a leaf. The further back you cut, the more compact your rose bush will be, but it will also take longer to flower again than if you just snap off the flowerhead.
Feed roses in pots with a liquid tomato fertiliser each time you water to encourage better blooms. Sprinkle a granular rose fertiliser at the base of roses in borders in midsummer to keep them healthy and flowering freely.
4. Care For Your Containers
Container gardens are a fantastic way to add structure and colour to patios and gardens, as well as giving more options to gardeners with limited space. However from April to September, frequent watering is essential to promote healthy container gardens. Smaller pots will dry out very quickly, especially when positioned in full sun, so pots must be checked regularly and watered thoroughly. This means fully soaking the compost in moisture until it begins to run from the drainage holes. Never rely on the rain to do a good enough job of watering containers. This is especially important if the containers are full of large-leaved plants, which can act as umbrellas, preventing water from reaching the plants' roots.
5. Prune Late Spring-flowering Deciduous Shrubs
Pruning plants which have finished flowering promotes new growth meaning there will be a bountiful floral display the following year. Summer days are the perfect time to cut back your late spring-flowering deciduous shrubs such as Forsythia and Jasmine. Cut them back as soon as the flowers have fallen. By clipping the shrubs back you will also improve their appearance for the coming winter.
6. Sit In The Shade and Plan Your Spring Borders
If the physical exertion involved in gardening seems like too much in the midday heat, sit in the shade and begin planning your spring borders. By ordering your bulbs and seeds now, and planting them in Autumn, you'll see a greater spring bloom with better developed and more resistant root systems.