A more traditional blog post from me for a change, but don't relax - I'll be back to my usual style very soon, following inspiration from visits to various gardens recently - watch this space!
One of the many delights of the English summer is to spot over a hedge the floral results of another gardener’s hard work. Hanging baskets spilling over with Lobelia, borders with spires of Delphinium, rambling Roses or even a nicely kept lawn. Grass areas around most homes have grown neatly since the introduction of the first mower in 1830. Since then, lawn quality has improved and developed beyond belief and lawns have earned their place as one of the key elements of any traditional English garden.
Throughout most months of the year the grass continues to grow and can look fabulous with regular trimming at a sensible height, some autumn aeration and a regular feed. To some of course, this sounds like an awful lot of work, but for a formal gardener; it is every bit as important as supporting those Delphiniums, or trimming those Roses. Another path you could tread with your lawn however is to let it grow wild, and see what occurs naturally within those grassy blades.
Remember that the lawn area will need a good late summer cut with a strimmer, followed by removal of all the cuttings, and even a square metre or two can act as a beacon to wildlife and provide a long season of colour and interest – all from species considered by many to be wild and uninteresting! You could think about mowing around the edge of the wildflower lawn, to give a neater appearance, and maybe for the more adventurous; a network of paths can be mown and woven through the larger wildflower lawn to give a tapestry effect. The overall result can be stunningly beautiful for those who appreciate nature’s gift of wildflowers, butterflies, bees and more.
Remembering those Delphiniums and Roses, by August many flowers in the border will be ‘going-over’ as people say, and the withering blooms sometimes detract from the overall beauty of a garden. Regular dead-heading, or removal of spent flowers (down to a fresh leaf) has the instant effect of tidying a plant, and can often encourage more blooms to be produced. This is particularly important with summer bedding and container plants to stop them running to seed, and to keep those blooms coming. In addition to the benefits to the plant and its flowering cycle, dead-heading is a pleasant way to interact with your garden, being such a relaxing and peaceful task – have a go – its addictive!
Enjoy your gardens ;)