insideKENT Magazine Issue 63 - June 2017 - Page 157

OUTDOORLIVING YOUR GARDEN NEEDS THIS MONTH: JUNE Everything you need to know TO KEEP YOUR GARDEN HEALTHY AND THRIVING THROUGHOUT EARLY SUMMER FROM THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. TOP 10 JOBS THIS MONTH POSITION SUMMER HANGING BASKETS AND CONTAINERS OUTSIDE 1. Hoe borders regularly to keep down weeds 2. Be water wise, especially in drought- affected areas The basic principles of creating a hanging basket for winter and summer are the same. 3. Pinch out side shoots on tomatoes • Lining First of all, if you are using a standard wire basket, it will need to be lined. You can buy ready made cardboard liners and fibrous materials sold for the purpose, but a thrifty option is to collect moss from the lawn. Aim to cover the inside with about a 1.5cm-thick layer of the material and then half fill the basket with compost. 4. Harvest lettuce, radish, other salads and early potatoes 5. Position summer hanging baskets and containers outside 6. Mow lawns at least once a week 7. Plant out summer bedding 8. Stake tall or floppy plants 9. Prune any spring-flowering shrubs 10. Shade greenhouses to keep them cool and prevent scorch • Compost A multipurpose compost is fine for a display that only has to last for one year, but John Innes no. 2 is better for a longer lasting arrangement. And, if you want to grow plants such as winter-flowering heathers, it’s best to go for ericaceous compost, although Eri ca carnea and E. x darleyensis cultivars are tolerant of other composts that contain lime. • Choosing and arranging plants When you begin to arrange the plants in the basket it is usually easiest to start with one, central plant. This can be used to create structure and impact, which is particularly important in winter if its other companions fail to flower in cold snaps. Around this, position some trailing plants to cover the sides of the basket, particularly if it is made from wire. Along with this selection, it is worth considering carefully the flowering plants – choose colours that work well together and plants that flower reliably; winter-flowering pansies, petunias, lobelia and geraniums are always winners. • Finishing touches Once all the plants are in, fill around the root balls carefully with more compost, firming gently. You can push in some controlled- release fertiliser pellets or plugs at this stage, and then water well. 157