Get your garden ready for summer

Botanical gardens

A senior horticultural supervisor at Birmingham Botanical Gardens goes over the important gardening tasks for the summer.

The weather’s heating up and it’s the ideal time to be spending time outside in the garden and with the long summer days you can expect to see an energetic growth spurt in your garden as it soaks up all the extra daylight.

Although your garden is likely to be bursting with colour, the weeds will be out in full force, too. Keep these interlopers at bay by hoeing the borders regularly, particularly on the warmer days.

As for your lawn, leave the grass slightly longer than desired during the warmer weather because longer blades of grass can cope better with drought. However, even if we do have a dry spell, it isn’t necessary to water the grass, unless new turf has been laid or it has been recently sown, because it will soon recover when the rain returns.

However, it is important to water vegetable patches liberally because the heat can dry them out, which could cause the plants to bolt.

If you haven’t already done so, now is the perfect time to sow runner beans. When you do, dig a trench and put in a generous amount of water-retentive material because the beans will need a constant supply of water to help them grow.

You’ll also need to water hanging baskets regularly because they can dry out very quickly when it’s warm. We’ll be tending to ours, which are filled with Begonia ‘Illumination Lemon’ on the Pavilion and around the Lawn Aviary there is a very unusual combination of lime green and black Ipomeas and dark purple Verbenas.

It’s also important to remember your houseplants at this time of year! Increase watering and feeding to once a week to maintain lush and healthy growth.

Most of your houseplants can go outside for the summer – the fresh air and rain will do them the world of good. Make sure they are in a shady spot to reduce the chance of leaf scorch and bring them back inside in late September before the frosts return.

Feeling motivated? Why not visit Birmingham Botanical Gardens for more inspiration. Westbourne Rd, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3TR www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk