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Dear Gardeners,

As we get to the driest month of summer, keep a close eye on watering. It's not only pots and baskets, but any plants that you have planted in the ground this year are at risk of suffering in the heat as the dry weather sets in. Make sure you leave strict instructions before you set off on holiday or invest in a micro irrigation system complete with automatic timer.

  • Whilst watering, ensure that at least once a week you are also feeding, using something like Miracle Gro Concentrated Liquid Fertiliser, as the nutrients in this product are in a form immediately available to plants. For a good Autumn display you need to be feeding now.
  • As herbaceous plants such as Lupins and Delphiniums fade and begin to turn brown, cut the old flowering stems down to about 6 inches tall. This both removes these unsightly branches from detracting from the current floral displays and can also promote a second flush of flowers later in the summer!
  • Dead-head your regular flowering plants such as Dahlias and Geraniums to ensure a continuous supply of new flowers.
  • Now is the time to be trimming evergreen hedges such as Leylandii and Griselinia.
  • If you have any non flowering large evergreen shrubs such as Eleagnus Pungens Maculata, you can also give them a good trim now to make sure they keep their shape or control their size. Leave pruning any other flowering shrubs now until the spring.
  • If you want to propagate some small varieties of your favourite tender bedding plants such as Geraniums and Fuchsias to overwinter indoors, then start taking some cuttings now. These small plants are a lot easier to look after during the wintertime.
  • Bulb season will soon be with us so look out for some varieties to both buy and plant early. Things to look out for are Snowdrops, which don't like being out of the ground very long, Colchicum, the pink Autumn crocus and Sternbergia, the yellow Autumn crocus. Also look out for the prepared Hyacinths for Christmas flowering as these need to be planted before mid September for the best results. After planting these prepared (heat treated) Hyacinths, water them well, then keep in a dark, but also cool, location for at least 12 weeks before bringing them into the warmth and light when the growths are about 1.5 inches tall. They will then grow on and flower for a great show and scent at Christmas time!

Until next month, happy gardening!

The Diamond Doctor