Watering and feeding the garden


Lee Bestall
Garden Care
20th June 2011

As we move into mid-summer the number of jobs to do out in the garden seem to get less and less every week.  Is that how nature intended it? Well, yes, I think it is.  Now I’m not supposing that nature though to itself ‘come on guys, lets slow it down with the growing, so we can give those humans a well-earned rest in the sun’ (this would be the same humans who chop us here and pinch us out there, who force us into growth and then ‘stop’ our flowers)? No.  Plants never do anything ‘just because’, they always have an ulterior motive.  And that’s always to do with survival.  Whether it’s growing, setting seed or colonising, there’s a reason for it. 

So why do plants really slow down in the summer?

It’s due to the rise in temperatures and lack of water.  Hot sunny days and lack of water is a killer for plants, as they just can’t keep upright, full of water and therefore survive.  So they slow down their metabolism if you like, and have developed lots of clever little ways to do it.

Water moves around the plant like blood in our bodies, and it’s simply a way of transporting food around and standing tall, so keeping plants well fed and watered in the summer is so important. 

The kind of rain we have been having recently won’t really touch hanging baskets and container planting, so make sure you give them a good watering … even if it ‘looks like rain’!  Feed every 2 weeks with a balanced fertilizer liquid feed and they will look great for weeks to come.

Other jobs you could be doing this week include:

•    Adding a general purpose granular organic fertilizer to your beds and borders (at a rate of 1 handful per plant)
•    Dead heading roses
•    Collecting Lavandula heads to make pot purée
•    Cut back spent Delphiniums to encourage further flowering
•    Stake any plants which may fall in the wind
•    Ensure newly planted trees and shrubs don’t go dry

Tool of the week

Single Spike

Spike Sprinkler - SJ107


This week’s tool of the week is the new Rainforest sprinkler.  There are loads to choose from in this range, and they were launched this year at Chelsea.  Using less water than the average sprinkler, this clever little gadget creates a more realistic ‘rainfall’ effect through its rather cute heart shaped head.  The clever people at S&J have designed this product so that the moving head is extremely light, which means even at very low water pressures the sprinkler is still effective. 

Rainforest Sprinkler System 

Easily control the width of the area you want to water by adjusting the tap, it’s that easy.  And the really great thing is that you can connect several together, making watering large areas simple.  They also fit any standard adapter.

Happy watering!

Lee 'The Gardener'

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The Author

Lee Bestall

Lee Bestall

As a horticulturalist and garden designer, I'll be guiding you through the seasons ahead, sharing tips, successes and failures and exploring some of the new and inventive products on the market.

Join me to see what jobs I recommend you should be doing in the garden each month.