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So summer is officially here…woo hoo!!

Having said that…it hasn’t been much of a summer weather wise really has it? Rain, rain….oh and more rain. But today the sun is shining so time to make the most of your beautiful garden!!

Here at the shop we are getting used the ‘new normal’ – that horrible phrase that you are hearing everywhere! We have re-arranged our layout so that it is now one way only and we are limiting the amount of customers we can invite in at any one time. There are also lots of hand sanitising stations around the place and we are, at least for the summer months, taking payment for all items at our till outside.

So far this has all been working well and it’s lovely to see our customers back again…..we missed you!!

The other big news is that from the beginning of the month, the cafe has reopened. Again, we are taking lots of measures to ensure the safety of our customers and our staff and word must have circulated that we are doing a good job – so the place is busy, which is great news. Remember, if you want to enjoy a meal or just a drink in our little city oasis then give us a ring to book a table. It’s especially lovely today in the sunny courtyard!

On the gardening front, we currently have a large selection of herbs in 90cm pots. So now would be a great time to create that little herb garden you have always been planning.  You can grow herbs in almost any type of container as long as it will hold enough compost and it has adequate drainage holes.  You will need to get hold of some grit/gravel if possible or if not available, try some small stones. These will enhance the drainage of your compost and ultimately keep your herbs happy.  Fill the container with peat free compost and grit/stones and you’re ready to begin planting!

Tap Your herbs out of their pots and place in the container taking care not to overcrowd it  (this is tempting!!).  Place larger herbs such as Rosemary and Lavender at the centre of the container and smaller ones such as chives and basil around the edges. Fill around the plants with compost but leave a 2cm gap between the level of the compost and the top of the container and then water them in well.  

 Don’t leave your container in a position where it will get full sun all day as too much sunlight will  encourage them to go to seed and will dry them out too quickly.  Remember to water them regularly, either in the morning or evening, especially during dry periods  – but do take care not to let the container become waterlogged. You could perhaps place your container on small bricks or pebbles to allow for easy drainage which would help to avoid your herbs sitting in water for long periods of time – which they hate!  Also – make sure to feed them weekly with an organic fertiliser such as seaweed and nip off any flowers that form in order to prevent them from going to seed.

You will need to prune back your perennial herbs (ones which last for more than one season – such as Rosemary, Sage and Thyme) in autumn whilst others which are annual (only last one season – such as basil and coriander) will need to be removed and replaced next year.  Great herbs to try growing in a container include:Basil, Chives, Coriander, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary and Sage.  Give it a go – it’s fun and will provide you with tasty herbs for months to come!

Other things you could be doing now include:

  • Pruning June-flowering shrubs such as Philadelphus and Weigela after flowering. 
  • Clipping fast-growing hedges such as Leyland cypress as necessary throughout the growing season.
  • Tying-in climbers and ramblers as they grow. 
  • Feeding and watering container plants regularly
  • Continuing to stake taller plants such as dahlias and chrysanthemums
  • Harvesting courgettes, peas, broadbeans and gooseberries

And remember…If you are planning to go away on holiday, ask a friend/neighbour to pick your flowers, salad and veg in your absence to prevent everything running to seed and of course to to keep things well watered.

And if you are not going away this year, which I’m sure is the case for many of us, then simply sit back with a gin and tonic and enjoy looking at your garden and the wildlife all around us.

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