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What you can do in your garden this summer


As the summer months come round, people naturally start to think about what to do in their gardens. Whether it is simply relaxing in a pleasant environment or seriously growing flowers and vegetables, the garden can be a constant source of pleasure no matter how you choose to spend your time there.




June through to August is a good time to take cuttings from your favourite shrubs and get them ready for autumn planting. Choose healthy plants that have produced fresh, firm shoots and take cuttings between two and four inches in length. Remove the lower leaves to prevent them rotting.


Dip the end of the cutting in rooting liquid or powder and then place it in a pot of free-draining compost. You may also want to take several cuttings and place them in a propagator or clear plastic bag to stop them from drying out. Leave them in a place with plenty of sunlight until they have taken root.


Tender bedding plants such as begonias and salvias like warm weather and so they should be planted in the early summer.


Fruits and vegetables


In June, celery, courgettes, cucumbers, marrows, and greenhouse-raised Brussels sprouts can be planted. Beetroot, lettuce, and carrot rows can be thinned and further planting continued. The first gooseberries, pears, and apples will also appear in June, and these should be picked to encourage the remaining fruit to reach a good size. The unripe fruit can be cooked and used in a number of recipes, many of which can be found online.


In July the amount of sowing you will be able to do drops, but broad beans, dwarf beans, beetroot, spring cabbage, and carrots can still be planted. Next year's chicory, cauliflower, peas, winter lettuce, pak choi, radishes, and turnips can also be planted. Peas can be sown directly in the soil, but keep them well watered to prevent mildew. Runner or French beans can be sown until midsummer.


August is the month you will want to start preparing for next year. Sow seeds for vegetables such as autumn onions, turnips, radicchio, Chinese cabbage, winter lettuce, and spring cabbage. Also look after your fruit plants; you will want to take cuttings of strawberry runners, and cut back old raspberry canes.


The summer is also the time for harvesting many of the crops planted in spring such as potatoes, garlic, onions, and shallots. Once these have been harvested you can sow oriental vegetables such as spinach mustard, pak choi, or Chinese cabbage in their place. July will usually be best month to start harvesting and storing fruit.


Smaller gardens


Even those individuals who have smaller outdoor spaces can create a beautiful garden using containers, hanging baskets, and trellises for climbing plants. Many flowers such as pansies and snapdragons thrive in small containers as do certain types of vegetables including tomatoes and herbs. Strawberries, raspberries, and gooseberries will all grow in a wide variety of containers, and for the adventurous many new dwarf varieties of fruit including apples, pears, peaches, and nectarines can be grown in pots.




Always remember that along with the work, the summer months are for relaxing, and your garden will provide a pleasant private space in which to do so. A patio or deck can provide a great outdoor extension of your home, and fantastic garden furniture can bring the comfort of the inside to the great outdoors. With a little effort and planning, you will find yourself relaxing throughout the summer months on your garden sun lounger surrounded by a colourful, scented, and fruitful garden.



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