What..no grass?

July 10, 2011

Hello there!

With the lawns looking more like a July prairie and not much grass cutting being done, you could turn your gardening energies towards the flower beds and borders. Looking good during this drought are ornamental grasses like Stipa tenuissima, Stipa gigantea and Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus'. These guys are so low maintenance it beggars belief-when they grow to a 6cm diameter clump, dig them up, pull them literally apart, cut them down and replant wherever takes your fancy. The only lawns that you should be watering at the moment are newly turfed or seeded lawns. Don't waste precious resources and money by watering established grass areas, the green stuff will recover once it rains again and as for mowing, keep the blades high for the time being. Do you love lilies but cannot bear the scent? The asiatic lilies have a very strong perfume which some people dislike and can be allergic to. I'm reliably informed (by a breeder) that oriental lilies are not perfumed and are therefore more suited to sufferers. Lily bulbs planted now in pots will flower in 60 to 90 days-choose a good quality UK made pot, follow the planting instructions and you will have a very beautiful gift for oneself (or others). It's showtime as you may have gathered-the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is in full swing this week with some surprising results for the show gardens. I attended the bunfight...sorry I meant flower show on the Tuesday (a day which is supposed to be for members) to witness Leeds City Council gaining a gold medal for a 'Trumpton' styled garden whilst Anne-Marie Powell's eclectic directional design for The British Heart Foundation only gaining a silver medal. Robbed is a word that comes to mind. Best in show was the Daily Telegraph garden by Cleve West which was well deserved but my favourite was the M&G garden designed by Bunny Guiness. Awarded only a silver gilt medal, it should have been given a gold but apparantly the paths were too narrow. This is how I would love my garden, all pots and pergolas, raised beds and radishes, balconies and brassicas. I can only dream of all that pottering, pruning, poking and preening. Take a peep www.rhs.org.uk/Shows-Events/RHS-Chelsea-Flower-Show/2011/Gardens/A-to-Z/The-M-G-Garden Lavatory enthusiasts will be interested in the best artisan garden by Jihae Hwang based on a Korean loo entitled 'Emptying One's Mind'. Here it is...vacant at the moment. www.rhs.org.uk/Shows-Events/RHS-Chelsea-Flower-Show/2011/Gardens/A-to-Z/Hae-woo-so-Emptying-Ones-Mind Art lovers will definately want to see the Henry Moore exhibition at Hatfield House running until September 30th with a beautiful house and gardens to boot. Take a picnic hamper, a few friends and sit and enjoy someone else's hard work. www.hatfield-house.co.uk/whats-on/exhibition-moore-at-hatfield/ There is nothing quite so vulgar as a girl with grubby knees...my Grandma used to say. These days gardening girls have to get dirty at some point and my kness do take a bashing, however I've found a this brilliant new cream called baby bottom butter from Waitrose and my knees now look like a well tended baby's bottom. Also good for hands and cuticles after a hard days graft in the grime-another gift for oneself!

A checklist of things to do.

  1. Plant up hanging baskets now the risk of frost has passed...but do keep an eye out & cover lightly if frost is forecast
  2. Pepare to shade the greenhouse for sunny days.
  3. Feed roses, shrubs and soft fruits with a general purpose fertilizer.
  4. Remove duckweed from ponds...leave it by the side of the pond so the critters can crawl back into the water.
  5. Pick flowers for the house/boat/campervan.
  6. Stake tall plants with canes and twine.
  7. Watchout for red lily beetle...squash any you find, they are voracious breeders.
  8. Sit, relax and look at your beautiful garden.
And meanwhile if you have any queries please send them-if I can't answer them myself I'm sure to know and expert who can. Happy gardening in abundance to you all. Helen  

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