Garden Surival Tips After a Heatwave and High Winds
Garden Survival Tips After a Heatwave and High Winds
The heatwave has done it’s worst (for now) and after the weekend’s rain and wind, the garden needs picking up and putting right. But your outdoor space is resilient, especially with some help from you.
Some plants have suffered in the heat and will show signs of damage, Trees and shrubs could well have dead branches. This is their natural mechanism for survival. They shut down and sacrifice a twig here or there to save itself.
Cut such dead branches off where the live growth begins. Trace down a branch, scraping at the bark, and where the layer beneath the bark is green, give it a cut. Shred and compost what you cut off.
Bedding plants have suffered and, though you have kept things alive with copious amounts of water, they will no doubt be looking a bit ropey. It’s easy to put them on the straight and narrow by nipping off any dead or fading blooms. Then trim back straggly growth and water well.
Add a dash of high potash fertiliser (tomato food is the best - always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using any chemicals in the garden) and within a week everything will be looking good again. Petunias, calibrachoa, fuchsias and pelargoniums all love this kind of treatment.
Lawns are the most talked about part of the garden right now. From lush green to parched beige within weeks… and now? A day after the weekend's rain my own lawn has started to revive; OK, it looks awful and patchy but it does show how much of a survivor grass is.
The mower has been relatively quiet but straggly growth makes the lawn look even worse and where I have been watering newly planted trees, there is actually strong grass growth. A high cut keeps things trim and a quick whip round the edges gives the overall effect of neatness. And the overall message for lawns is still ‘don’t panic.’ It will grow back. And if you need to re-seed or re-turf then don't do it now - wait a couple of months.
But it was the gusty wind that bothered me most last weekend. It ripped at a few leaves and, in particular, my prize winning, world record breaking pumpkin plant (Ok, not exactly award winning or world record breaking as the one fruit currently looks the size of a cricket ball!). It also battered the fencing.
If you have any panels or posts in need of repair perhaps the weekend weather has persuaded you to do it now. I had one panel rattling all weekend and a simple bracket sorted the problem out. Thank goodness the rest was sound. I would hate to think of you having to replace a row of fencing in the torrential rain and hammering storms of autumn. Get it checked, repaired or replaced now when the sun shines - or at least it is as I write and the forecast is good into the weekend.
Finally spare a thought for the birds and bees. For weeks they have flitted hither and thither in search of food and something to drink. Then, it lashes down with high winds stopping them from flying. It all then calms down and again, we start begging the forecasters for rain. So fill up your bird baths with fresh water every day, from a watering can if you have a hosepipe ban of course, to help out those birds and the bees.