Making your garden really special this summer.
By Sarah Wilson
March and April were really dismal months, except for a few days of beautiful weather in late April, so you have probably kept out of your very muddy and cold garden!
At this time of year you can really enhance your garden with spring blossom and early flowering shrubs. If you don’t have spring flowering trees and shrubs here are a few ideas for new plants you could plant this autumn.
• Camellias – early flowering and glossy green leaves all year round
• Choisya – Evergreen with lovely scented flowers in May
• Crab apples – lovely early pink blossom and then bright green leaves and little crab apples in autumn
• Native cherries – early flowering with masses of white blossom
• Japanese cherries – different species can flower from January to June and come in all shades of pink and white.
• Hamamelis – lovely yellow, wispy scented flowers in early spring, green leaves all summer and red leaves in autumn
Once your spring bulbs are finished you should always deadhead them unless they are to be naturalized in the lawn, where the seed heads will produce new bulbs. Don’t cut off or tie up the leaves of any bulbs until they are six weeks after flowering.
If you have pots of bulbs you can take the bulbs out now so you can reuse the pots for summer plants – put Crocus, snowdrops and hyacinths in your garden in a bright open place so they can build up stores for next spring. If you didn’t have any Anemone blanda in your garden this year you can buy some in flower at a garden centre and plant at the front of your border or under trees – they will flower for a few more weeks. They are such a lovely flower and will come up every year and multiply to cover a larger area.
Two of my favourite plants, which provide easy and attractive “ground cover”, are Gallium odoratum and Erigeron karvinskianus
They will spread quite rapidly and prevent weeds – both are indestructible and will die back in winter and then pop up looking green and healthy in April or May.
Some jobs for May
Don’t forget to sow your runner beans and lettuce this month and if you want sweet peas its not too late to sow seeds – or buy a pot of seedlings from the garden centre.
If you have olive, box or bay trees in containers don’t forget to give them a feed – any of the granular fertilizers such as Vitax or Phostrogen will do and then ensure they are well watered or they will struggle to put on new leaves.
Keep tying in your Clematis and roses so they can reach a good height before they flower.
This year why not buy perennials or summer bulbs for your garden rather than bedding plants? It is a bit early to plant summer bedding even though it is in all the supermarkets and garden centres – for your borders or pots invest in some long lasting summer perennials such as Hosta, ferns, Geranium, Alchemilla mollis and Epimedium. They will give you a range of colour and shape of leaves and some interesting purple and pink flowers – and they will last for years!
Please visit our open garden at Shieling on May 27th – we are open from 11am to 5 pm. On the 28th May there is a garden in Cheam at 15, The Avenue, SM2 ZE7QA, that is also open for the NGS. It is very modern but has some lovely planting. Well worth a visit.
Dr Sarah Wilson, a long time resident in The Warren, regularly opens her garden in the summer months with the National Garden Scheme.
To contact Sarah please click here