Sarah's Snippets

Welcome to our blog by Sarah Squire, of the Squire’s family and Squire’s Garden Centres.

June Gardening Tips

June is one of the loveliest months in the garden! There is plenty to enjoy and plenty to do.

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Now that the danger of frost is over summer bedding plants can be planted out in borders, containers and hanging baskets. Water containers and baskets regularly, ideally once a day either early in the morning or in the evening when the sun is not shining on them and liquid feed once a week.

Dead head and feed roses that have finished flowering to promote a second flush.

Prune early flowering shrubs such as Deutzia, Philadelphus, Weigela, Kerria and flowering currants that have finished flowering by cutting back to a healthy bud.

 

Evergreen hedges such as Box, Privett, Leyland cypress, Yew and Lonicera nitida may be clipped in June.

Earth up potatoes when the foliage reaches approximately 6-9 inches in height. This stops any potatoes that grow near to the surface from turning green and inedible.

Do not worry if apples start to drop small fruits. This is called June Drop and is a natural thinning process.

Protect soft fruit with netting.

There is still time to feed the lawn or apply a feed weed and moss killer, if you have not already done so.

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May Gardening Tips

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What a spring it has been so far! Some glorious gardening weather and then a cold snap towards the end of April to prove to us that we are in Britain after all. The wise will have been protecting tender plants with fleece or cloches against the night time chill. But we are approaching 10 May which is the magic date, in our area, where the last danger of frost should be over.

 

Then a sense of liberty can take over and we can launch into planting summer baskets and containers with a cornucopia of colourful bedding plants – soft and pastel or vibrant and wild- just as you wish.

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Of course some shrubs have flowered already. So now is the time to prune early flowering shrubs such as Kerria japonica and Forsythia and Ribes.

In the vegetable patch we are free to sow Marrows and Courgettes, Runner Beans and Sweet Corn and plant tender vegetables such as Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Aubergines, Peppers and Melons in grow bags. Take cuttings of Sage, Thyme and Rosemary. Turning to fruit place straw around Strawberry plants, de-shoot Peaches and Nectarines and feed Figs and mulch.

I do hope you enjoy the freedom of gardening in May

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March Gardening Tips

As a night owl, I am always delighted when the clocks spring forward and there is the opportunity to inspect the garden in the evenings, spotting every swelling bud and unfurling leaf. It always amazes me how some of the most exotic flowers appear so early in the spring. Glamorous waxy blooms such as Camellias, Chaenomeles and Magnolias really ought to flower in more clement conditions but no, here they are to make us smile right now.

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While outside enjoying all the blooms and blossoms that April offers so profusely, here are a few things to be doing this month. For further information check out the garden calendar on our website

  • Dead head bulbs but do not cut down the foliage as the bulbs need this to produce food for the bulb
  • Plant Dahlia tubers and Gladioli
  • Train Clematis, tying in the shoots to spread the growing shoots over the wall or fence
  • Sow annual seeds in the open soil
  • Divide perennials that have become woody or died back at the centre
  • Sow summer bedding in the greenhouse and prick out sowings made in March
  • Sow Tomatoes in pots in the greenhouse or on a warm windowsill
  • Grow Basil from seed in a warm greenhouse or on a windowsill
  • Plant second early Potatoes at the beginning of April and main crop varieties at the end of the month
  • Plant out onion sets
  • Sow Leeks, Broad Beans, Beetroot, Lettuce, Parsnips, Peas, Mange Tout and Spinach outdoors under cloches
  • Apply a general plant food around fruit bushes, trees and Strawberry plants
  • If frost is forecast use horticultural fleece to protect the blossom of flowering fruit trees
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February Gardening Tips

February is often the month that sees the garden spark into growth again. This means that our thoughts can turn to planting, pruning and propagating.

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Provided the ground is not frozen then February is a good time to plant trees, shrubs and hardy perennials. You can be sure of some moisture in the soil, which makes it easier to dig the planting hole and less of a chore to keep the plant watered in the all- important first months as it establishes. Split clumps of snowdrops if they have become overcrowded. They are often easier to grow when planted ‘in the green’ than from bulbs.

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Seed sowing is also one of this month’s more pleasurable tasks. Broad beans, carrots and parsnips can be sown under cloches, onions, peas, cabbage and leeks can be sown in a propagator and for tomatoes and bedding plants a heated propagator is required. Mulching borders works wonders for weed suppression and water retention. Later in the month you can even start to prune Hybrid Tea roses (single flower per stem) and floribunda roses (clusters of flowers on each stem). Do not prune rambling roses until after flowering as they flower on the previous year’s wood.

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December Gardening Tips

I am sure there is a scientific reason why the years seem to go by faster and faster the older I become, but such I shall leave such calculations to the astrophysicists. For us gardeners crisp sunny December days outside are a bonus, but it is probably time to turn our thoughts to the inside of our homes. At this time of year, when it is so dark by the time I get back in the evenings, I like to bring something living inside the house (and I don’t just mean my malodorous hound). This is the perfect time to enjoy some flowering houseplants; bright Azaleas or Cyclamen for a cooler spot or a seasonal Poinsettia for a warm living room – technically the red bracts are modified leaves rather than flowers but enjoyable none the less. For scent consider a Jasmine or Stephanotis and then of course the main event has to be the Christmas tree.

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I wouldn’t be without a real Christmas tree in the house at this time of year. It is tactile, scented and colourful. We go for a Nordmann fir because of the reduced needle drop. Remember to cut a little piece from the bottom of the stem before you bring it into the house, as you would with cut flowers, and place it in a stand that holds water. Keep it away from radiators and other sources of heat and top up the water regularly. That way needle drop is minimised and your tree will look fantastic throughout the festive season.

It just remains for me to wish you a heartfelt Happy Christmas and all good things for 2017

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