Sarah's Snippets

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

September Gardening Tips

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You can smell the nip in the air morning and evening now, that unmistakable scent of autumn gently creeping up on us with its misty mornings and low setting sun. It is always sad to leave summer behind and warm autumn days are to be cherished. However, on the up-side, it really is the best time of year to get planting. The soil is warm but damp and hardy plants get off to a great start, sending out roots and putting themselves in the best possible position to really grow and thrive next spring. So now is the time to begin autumn planting of shrubs, trees and hardy plants. Spring flowering bulbs are now in stock. Buy early for the best choice, chose large bulbs for better flowers. New lawns can be sown or turf laid. Worn areas can be re-sown.

More about planting over the next couple of months. In the meantime there is a harvest to enjoy! Pick Apples and Pears. Harvest Onions and Shallots and allow them to dry naturally. Lift main crop Potatoes. Pick French Beans and Runner Beans.

It is a great time for a little therapeutic tidy up too. When the summer bedding and patio plants start to go over replace with some Garden Mums (Chrysanthemums in old money), delightful dainty cyclamen which will flower until the hard frosts set in or some sturdy winter flowering pansies. Dead head perennials. Cut down dead stems or leave over winter for an architectural look. Dead head roses and tie in new shoots on climbers. Divide and transplant rock plants or alpines if they are spreading too far. Water Dahlias when necessary and support. Plant out Carnations and Pinks and pinch out growing tips.

I wish you some golden autumn days a great planting

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August Gardening Tips

It is high summer and the garden is at a crossroads. On the one hand there is still an abundance of flower but harvest is also very much in evidence and I am truly thankful for the plentiful blackcurrants that have been staining my hands as I pick them and are now safely stowed in the freezer. Runner beans, tomatoes, salad leaves and courgettes are in abundance and the sheer bounty and generosity of nature is on full display.

 

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Here are just a few easy tasks for pottering in the garden this August

Continue to water and feed hanging baskets & containers regularly.

Don’t forget to dead head faded flowers of perennials and annuals to encourage the production of new flowers.

Trim Lavender bushes once they have finished flowering. Do not cut down into the wood.
Take cuttings of tender perennials such as Pelargoniums, Fuchsias and Salvias.

Stop feeding Roses so as to discourage soft growth. Prune rambling and shrub Roses cutting only the old stem that flowered this year.

Sow Lettuce, spring Cabbage and winter Spinach.

Pinch out the tips of Runner Beans.

Take cuttings of woody herbs, e.g. Lavender, Rosemary and Sage.

Cut down Raspberry canes that have fruited and support new canes.

Plant Strawberry runners which have rooted.

Continue to feed Tomato plants.

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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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