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Green Fingers in early Summer

Down at Caves Folly Nursery in Colwall, Bridget is facing up to the challenges left behind by the chilly temperatures of spring. 

At last summer has arrived after such a long, wet winter, followed by a cold spring. It has certainly been a challenge for growers. Many countries in Europe have suffered from frosts this spring, damaging food and ornamental crops. 
It was obvious this spring when walking around garden centres how many plants never see the outdoors until they arrive in our gardens. Many commercial growers are producing high percentages of their crops in glasshouses to bring them on early. This means of course that they have been forced and the lush growth is very vulnerable to bad weather and frosts.

I remember when I started in horticulture over 43 years ago, it was the norm to have cold springs and gardeners did not put tender plants out until the end of May. My son tells me we might be entering a new ice age so maybe we should bring back the old ideas!

On a brighter note, I have had lots of new customers to my ‘newly revamped’ nursery at Colwall Green, many of which are young people, all keen to encourage pollinators to their gardens. My online sales of plants that attract pollinators have also increased, which can only result in lots of happy bees.
Jobs in the garden are a pleasure at this time of year, with such a lot to enjoy.

Here’s a few ideas of things to get on with. 

In the ornamental garden
Dead head roses regularly to encourage more flowers. Water containers and hanging baskets each day in warm weather. Feed once a week with a high potassium liquid fertiliser. Wisteria is best pruned twice a year to control its size and promote flowering. Summer prune by shortening long and whippy new growth to five or six leaves.

Fill in the gaps in your borders with annuals such as cosmos, cornflower and other similar flowers for summer colour. Keep on top of weed growth in the borders, hand weed and hoe regularly.

In the vegetable garden
Sow salad leaves at two-week intervals for fresh leaves all summer. Harvest radishes, broad beans and early potatoes. When the frosts have gone plant out indoor grown fruiting vegetables such as cucurbits, aubergine, sweetcorn, courgette and ridge cucumbers. Regularly pinch outside shoots on cordon tomatoes.

Wildlife gardening
Clean and refresh the water in bird baths. Clean and sterilise feeders to prevent diseases. If you are putting netting over fruit or other crops, do make sure it is held taught to prevent birds getting tangled up in it. Be sure to check it regularly.

Plant as many plants for pollinators as you can. Leave water around the garden during hot weather for birds and insects to drink and bathe in.
Most importantly, leave time to sit and admire your garden and all its natural visitors.

Enjoy your summer!


Bridget runs Caves Folly Nurseries on Evendine Lane in  Colwall (WR13 6DX). They are open from March until October, Thursdays to Saturdays from 10 - 5. You can contact them on 01684 540631 or visit their website: