With the growing season well and truly underway, Monty Don turns his attention to planting out his sweet peas and sowing sweetcorn.
Carol Klein returns to Gloucestershire to help first-time gardeners Dan and Dominique plant up their new border in the style of a cottage garden.
And we meet newsreader Sophie Raworth, to find out why plants and gardens are so important to her in the run-up to the Chelsea Flower Show.
Streptocarpus make superb houseplants. They’re easy to grow, they come in a wide range of colours and, given the right conditions, will flower for weeks on end over the summer. The trick is to grow them somewhere shaded or on a east or west-facing windowsill so that the leaves don’t get scorched by the sun. Watering is a key factor too. Wait until the compost feels dry before giving your plants a drink, along with a high potash feed every once in a while. Regular deadheading will also help to prolong the display.
Streptocarpus care (www.rhs.org.uk)
Hardening off is a process by which young plants get acclimatised to life outdoors. Wind, rain and low temperatures can all wreak havoc with plants that have been raised indoors, so it’s always best to play safe before you plant anything out.
Moving plants to a coldframe with the lid left slightly open during the day and closed at night is a good plan of action for the first week. During the second week, open the lid more and more each day until eventually it is left wide open all day and all night. If you don’t have a coldframe, simply move your plants to a sheltered, shaded spot during the day and bring them in at night. During the second week, leave them out at night but cover with a layer of fleece if it gets cold. Lifting them onto a table or bench will also help to ward off hungry slugs and snails.
Hardening off tender plants (www.rhs.org.uk)
7 St George's Road
Sophie’s parents, Jenny and Richard Raworth, have been opening their garden under the National Gardens Scheme for over 30 years now. And this year is no exception. They’ll be open over the weekend of 7 & 8 June, so if fancy a visit, check out the link below for more details.
The Raworth Garden (www.raworthgarden.com)
Jobs for the weekend: Lightly trim the ends of hedges
As a rule, hedges should not be trimmed in late spring or early summer due to the risk of disturbing nesting birds. But if the ends of your hedges are getting in the way of a path, for example, it might be worth giving them a light trim. Avoid cutting back into old growth if you’re trimming Leyland cypress, and if you’re using ladders, ask someone to foot the base as you work.
More on hedge trimming (www.rhs.org.uk)
Jobs for the weekend: Edge lawns
A well maintained lawn will always make your borders look that much more attractive and that includes having a crisp, clean edge all the way around. The best way of achieving this is to cut off the overhanging grass with a sharp pair of edging shears, keeping your back straight as you do this. If the edge of your lawn needs to be recut at all, use a half-moon edging iron and a board as a guide.
Summer lawn care (www.rhs.org.uk)
Jobs for the weekend: Mulch strawberries
Now that strawberries are flowering and forming fruit, it’s time to give them a mulch of straw. This helps to prevent rotting and keeps the fruit clean as it ripens. If you have quite a few plants, it’s worth putting a cloche over some of them too. This will help them to ripen a little earlier and so spread the harvest over a longer period.
How to grow strawberries (www.rhs.org.uk)
|Series Producer||Christina Nutter|
|Series Editor||Liz Rumbold|