Ways to keep your garden looking good this summer

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22/7/2016

With the ever changing summer weather discover Alys’ top tips on keeping your garden looking its best throughout summer.

It’s been a bit of a funny old summer so far and if my garden is anything to go by, everything is flopping about.

Many perennials need a haircut half way through the summer to keep them looking trim and tidy. Herbs, early summer flowering perennials like geraniums, lungworts (Pulmonarias), Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla) and Granny’s Bonnets (Aquilegia) can be cut back hard and will flush with new fresh leaves and sometimes, even a second, if sporadic flowering.

You can often see the new leaves appearing in the middle of the plant, all fresh and young. Just cut the sprawling older leaves and spent flower off. It may seem brutal because there are few lingering flowers left, but it’s always worthwhile. Herbs like chives, garlic chives and marjoram can also be cut back hard, but more woody subjects like rosemary, lavender and thyme should just be given a light haircut to remove any seed heads and encourage a new flush of growth for picking.

Deadheading is time consuming, but always results in more flowers. For annuals like Marigold, allowing the plant to set seed is telling it that it can quit because its job is done. Endlessly removing the spent flowers before they set seed means the plants keep kicking out new ones in a bid to try to finish its work.