It’s mid-summer and it’s time to prepare the garden for holidays and relaxing family times. Your annuals have been in at least a month now and so it is time to remove the dead and dying heads of flowering bedding plants if you haven`t already. This stops the plant setting seed which in turn stops it flowering. This dead-heading ensures the plant continues to produce even more blooms in its attempt to set seed and complete its life-time job – we like to confuse nature!
Other jobs that will increase the flower power in your garden include watering if the soil becomes dry and feeding over the leaves and around the roots on a fortnightly basis. There are several ways that Miracle-Gro Plant Food can help your plants produce extra flowers in rich colours and on strong stems. The traditional way is by diluting the feed in a watering can and pouring it on, but I like to use a hose end feeder which gives the correct dose of food.
Roses bloomed amazingly early this summer and many gardens were blessed with a beautiful display in May, four weeks earlier than in a normal season. See that you dead head as I’ve said above, and trim back to two buds down from the old head to encourage new growth. It’s also time to ensure that your roses have sufficient nutrients to produce a second flush of flowers and an attractive display towards the end of the summer. A dressing of Rose Plus granules or Slow Release Rose Food will ensure that the plant has enough energy to produce another good display of roses that will be rich in colour and perfume.
Staking of tall perennials such as delphiniums, peony, phlox and dahlias is important now so that they aren’t blown down during high winds. A few sticks placed on the windward side of the plant will provide good anchorage for the necessary string ties that will keep all the stems upright and protected. When the plant’s flowers fad don’t be afraid to cut them off. Give a bit of feed and there is a good chance of another flush of flower.
Last but not least, it is time to get those fresh vegetables into the kitchen. We will soon be picking runner beans, French beans and courgettes, although runner beans can be shy to set if the weather is hot and dry. To encourage setting many gardeners mist over their runner beans with either plain water or use a dilute solution of Plant Food to provide a foliar feed at the same time. The fine liquid drops cool the plants and helps set the pollen when applied in the evening at dusk.