In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.
And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?
Robert Louis Stevenson, Bed in Summer
- Cut back bulb foliage as soon as it has died down naturally.
- Prune out overcrowded or dead stems of evergreen Clematis after it has finished flowering to maintain a good shape.
- If you are thinking about drying your own lavender to make into fragrant pillows and sachets for your drawers and wardrobes, you need to pick the flowerheads before they open – that way, your lavender should retain its strong scent and vivid purple colour.
- Dead-head and cut back oriental poppies after flowering. Cutting them close to ground level will stimulate new foliage.
- Dead-head your roses if they are repeat-flowering types. Otherwise leave the seed heads on for decoration.
- Potassium-rich banana skins make excellent rose snacks. Lay flat around the plant and bury under an inch of soil.
- As soon as your sweet peas start to flower, keep picking them to encourage more blooms.
- If any of your hanging basket plants have become leggy or misshapen, simply trim the excess off – this will encourage bushy growth.
- Pinch out the tips of your Fuchsias to encourage a bushy habit and more flowers.
- Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of bulbs.
- Pinch out any side shoots from your tomato plants and feed once the first truss is setting fruit. You can pot up the side-shoots to create new tomato plants.
- Continue to earth up potato plants as they grow. If you’re growing potatoes in bags simply add more compost to half way up the plant stem.
- Harvest early potatoes – these are normally ready from 10 weeks after planting
- Look out for onion and garlic leaves yellowing and dying back – this means they are ready to harvest!
- Clip evergreen hedges such as Privet, Box and Yew whilst they are in active growth.
- Turn the compost in your compost bins every month to keep it well aerated.
- If bedding plants are a little set back by cold weather, just after planting out as sometimes happens, a liquid feed will help to bring them on.