5th September 2019

Summer In the Garden

Summer in the Garden

If you are feeling a bit hot and bothered then I’ve got some fabulous tips for creating shady retreats where you can relax on a warm summers day.  Plus great plants to grow for Summer colour.  June and July can be a riot of colour, but August can also be a difficult month where plants have gone over and faded with seed heads appearing.  However there is hope as now is the time of year for the ‘Hot Boarder plants’ to come into their own.

Plus don’t forget our ‘Summer Glow Workshop’ to keep your skin glowing and hydrated in September.

Summer Colour

The tall spires of verbena mixed with the golden seed heads of various grasses , Calamagrostis ‘Carl Forester’ which stands 1 meter tall is stunning mixed with Provoskia (Russian Sage).  A vibrant purple hard not to be wowed.  Or the beautiful seed heads of Pennisetum Hameln mixed with wonderful majestic flower heads of echinacea ‘Moodz awake’.

Calamagrostis&provoskiaEch&pennisetumsVerb & calamagrostis

Sedums are also invaluable from greens to deep maroons, and the bees love them.

So check out our Planting packages to solve the problem area or if starting from scratch, we can help.

So in search of shade, head to the trees as they create cooling patches, but consider your choice of tree carefully.  If you have a small garden and the house is not far off, then choose maybe a deciduous tree that comes into leaf late and meets autumn early or a fine leaf tree that filters light rather than blocking it.

The density of the shade is mainly determined by the size of the leaves and the way they fit together.  In general trees with fine leaves will produce light shade while larger leafed species will throw deeper shade.  An example of fine leaves would be like an Acer or ‘Sorbus Vilmorinii’, an elegant tree with pretty feathery foliage, white flowers followed by clusters of berries and great autumn colour growing to 5meters.

Sorbus Vilmorinii

The density of the shade will affect the use of the ground beneath your chosen tree, so if you fancy a wonderful cooling Rhubarb Gin under dappled light then ‘Robinia pseudoacicia ‘Frisia’ would be a good choice .  It is fast-growing and prefers full sun, and rarely exceeds 8-9meters.


Robina pseu.frisia

The Grape vine hung over a pergola is also a wonderful delight with large leaves yellowing through to late summer, sprinkled with lights gives a real alfresco evening treat.

For a denser shadier area, the Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree) has a beautiful shaped leaf and tulip flower in summer.  It has good autumn colour but is for a larger garden as is fast growing up to 10meters.  For a more exotic look try the Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’, the foliage turns bright reddish purple in autumn with sumptuous dark heart shaped leaves growing too 4meters.

Tulip tree

Or sit under a pergola of wisteria interwoven with grape and Kiwi fruit! crazy I know but very cool!


Or go for Shade Sail.  Tension through robust rigging screws and anchored to oak posts or something solid like a wall or pole can look and work great in creating a cool area.

Shade Sail

There is also the Louvre roofing system, that at a flick of switch can open and close, come rain or shine.  We can design the space and fit it to your requirements.


Think about next years spring flowering bulbs on rainy days only…

Many of the early flowering pants will be exhibiting ripening seed pots so rather than leave, now is the time to collect a few into brown paper bags and labelled.

Summer pruning of early flowering shrubs like philadephus, ligustrum can be tackled now along with the evergreen hedges on an overcast day.


Water water and water…..

Pick the final crop off the Rhubarb and check out this months divine ‘Rhubarb Gin’ recipe perfect for a hot summers evening.

Continue picking all varieties of beans , the star of the season with us is the amethyst dwarf been – stringless and delicate.

Cucamelons we have tried for the first time and amazing, they are climbing up twigs and spring onions which have gone to seed.


Divide and conquer- bearded iris’s are one of the most beautiful spring perennials.  A great range of colours but clumps need dividing every third year.

Take a spade and dig up established clumps, tease the clump apart discarding the the old shrunken rhizomes.

Leave each juicy rhizome with a good selection of leaves.

With secateurs, trim each fan of leaves back by two thirds and remove old leaves about 10cms in height .

Now choose a place in full sunshine, they need rich well drained soil.  So plant with the rhizome 1/3 sticking out of the soil facing the sun.

Bearded iris prefer slightly alkaline soil.   As most soil is slightly acidic a sprinkling of lime (Dolomitic lime – slightly higher percentage of magnesium) water well, and this will get the plant off to a good start.


Prune back the Lavender once it has flowered, collect and dry the stems …. Our October Autumn Workshop is around the corner and this will give you lots of lovely ideas and uses for this great plant.

LavanderLavender drying