"Roses, phloxes, helenium and coreopsis, hemerocallis, gladiolus, campanula, and monk’s hood, and inula, and dragon’s-head, and marguerite – thank God! Flowers enough yet for these bad conditions."
Karel Capek, in The Gardener’s Year.
Here’s our summer to-do list for your garden – which with luck is looking inviting at this time of year! Have a wander round it with our list, and don’t forget to take a good long cold drink with you. Even if you don't get much done, at least you’ll have made a plan.
It’s time to prune late spring-flowering deciduous shrubs such as philadelphus, deutzia and jasmine. Once they’ve finished flowering, pruning will help them produce new growth in order to flower again next year. Clipping and pruning hedges will give them a good shape for the rest of the season, and midsummer is also the time for any remedial pruning needed on fruit bushes and trees.
Remove spent flowers from bulbs, but leave the rest of the plant as is for the time being.
Pull weeds from your beds and borders before they have a chance to take hold and spread.
Trees and shrubs can often shed small branches and early quantities of fruit. Sweep them up and either burn them or put them in the organic recycling bins.
Tend to your compost if it has been neglected over the winter. If you do not have a compost bin, spring is a great time to start one.
Lawns will need their regular cycle of care and cutting. Cut at the lowest height on the lawnmower and remember to water them during dry spells. A good soak every so often is better than a bit of water every day, as the former method encourages deeper growing root systems, leading to more drought-tolerant lawns.
Late summer will be the time to scarify the lawn - that is, remove any build-up of dead material - and also to do hollow-fork tining, or creating lots of small holes to relieve the compaction caused by frequent human traffic.
Maintenance of Hard Landscaping
Now’s the time to complete the wood-preservative treatment of fencing, summer houses and sheds, and also to do any construction work such as paving, concreting and wall building. Complete any repairs to greenhouses that are required before autumn and winter.
Summer is a good time to prepare your tools for the oncoming gardening season and to make any necessary repairs or new purchases. You will be happy you have done so when Autumn sets in.
Roses need regular deadheading and feeding to make them bloom and stay strong for longer. Remove any diseased leaves to prevent rust and blackspot spreading, and order any new plants now for delivery in November.
Prune the new growth on wisteria in August and reduce the new stems to the first two to three leaflets in order to produce flowering spurs for next year.
Lift and store tulips and daffodils for replanting later in autumn, thus allowing them to dry off properly. Choose your new bulbs from the catalogues and concentrate on the different colour combinations and sequences you would like to create for spring next year.
Bed and border maintenance is essential in summer. Cut back early flowering plants such as lupins and delphiniums and continue dead-heading in order to encourage a lovely later second display that will take you to the very end of September. Dispose of all sickly or diseased material by burning - do not put any of it into your compost bins.
Cover ponds with netting to catch falling leaves. Remove large lily leaves which might be covering flowers and remove all weeds from the bog garden. Replace any lost water from the pond.