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Gardening Wildlife

Keep the garden in tip top condition for wildlife in summer

It may be dry, but it has hardly been warm and I am still lighting my fire in the evening to keep the chill off the old bones (having switched the central heating off at the beginning of May. Gardening as a result has been a bit of a chore at times however there is plenty to do.

However the recent forecast seems to suggest that you will not need to fill up the thermos for a cuppa in the garden to keep you going. The dry spell (well in Jersey) has meant that weeds have not been romping away like they usually do at this time of the year so weeding should be relatively easy (relatively speaking). The other plus is that the wisteria has been magnificent, the alliums are just coming into flower, the clematis are sparkling and there is good set on the fruit trees. I will be keeping a close eye on the kiwi which shows flower buds for a long time before they actually burst. Despite the fact that it is supposed to be a self fertile variety it did a remarkably good job of not fruiting at all last year (so any of you with the variety Jenny, HELP!).

With the continued dry spell and with the drying north easterly winds pots, hanging baskets newly planted bits and pieces will all dry out pretty quickly so please check regularly. Remember if you water it is best to do it in the evening so that it has chance to soak into the soil, compost etc before evaporating.

If you fancy a hanging basket you can use summer bedding plants, especially trailing ones to create a stunning effect relatively simply. If you are stuck for ideas there are plenty of “how to” guides but remember to mix water retaining gel in to the compost. This prevents the baskets drying out too quickly which is the usual problem.

I mentioned summer bedding earlier re hanging baskets plant collection, now is the time for hardening off bedding plants raised under glass and plant these once done. Water in well and give them a little fertiliser but not too much nitrogen.

Following my smug feeling last year when my efforts at protecting my nectarine and peach trees from the rain worked really well, this year has not been so effective and though I have had good fruit set (see earlier comments) I have had to remove quite a few leaves infected with peach leaf curl. If this isn’t sorted by next year, out they come and in goes resistant varieties, or a fan trained plum/apple/pear.

One thing about gardening, the constant cycle of nature, means that you know or can anticipate what is coming next. So that is a wonderful introduction for me to be able to repeat a bit of advice for you wildlife enthusiasts. Biennial flowers such as evening primrose, foxglove, great mullein, honesty, sweet rocket, angelica, teasel and wallflower are all valuable for wildlife. Night-scented plants for moths such as evening primrose, sweet rocket, jasmine and honeysuckle.

Don’t forget it is easy to grow plants from plug plants, these are already rooted, so give it a go and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

I will leave you with an observation, do you remember weathermen talking about barbecue summers, they have been awfully quiet this year, or have I missed their predictions.

Hopefully we’ll have some warmer weather soon (ash clouds permitting of course).