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Monthly Hints & Tips

June 2017 Hints & Tips

Aftercare for rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias
If the leaves of your camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons have a black, sooty deposit on them, then scale insects – or a similar pest – are probably attacking them. Treat now with a suitable systemic insecticide. Because these plants are shallow rooted they need plenty of regular watering so that they don’t dry out; mulching the soil with composted bark or ericaceous compost will help, too. If they do dry out it can seriously reduce flowering next year. When you water, give them a feed of a rhododendron fertiliser at the same time.

Baskets and containers
Make the most of your hanging baskets and containers this year and ensure they provide a display to be proud of by using a controlled-release fertiliser and water-retention gel in the compost. Check that hanging basket brackets will hold the weight and replace any that are suspect. You could use self-lowering brackets or install a drip watering system to make watering easier. If you haven’t planted your containers and want instant results, take a look at our ready-planted ones.

Cuttings
This is a good time to take cuttings of pansies, violas and pinks for a supply of young, vigorous plants for next year. You can strike six or seven cuttings in a 10cm (4 inch) pot using a gritty cuttings compost, or make your own from equal parts peat or coir and sharp sand or vermiculite. Using hormone rooting liquid or powder will improve the results.

Furniture & BBQs
If you haven’t seen your garden furniture or barbecue since last summer, now’s a good time to rescue them from the back of the shed and give them a good spruce up ready for plenty of outdoor entertaining. We stock a wide range of cleaning and renovating products. And if your furniture and barbecue are past their best then this is a good time to replace them.

Greenhouse care
As summer temperatures rise, make sure the plants in your greenhouse are looking their best. Shading the glass with Vitax liquid shading or shade netting will help keep temperatures at a bearable level. Automatic vent openers are another worthwhile purchase, as they work even when you’re not at home. Damping down floors and surfaces will keep humidity high and help deter red spider mite and powdery mildew disease.

Pest Watch
During the warm days of summer, pests like red spider mite, aphids and whitefly, and diseases like mildew, rust and blackspot can really take hold and get out of control. Check your plants regularly for signs of trouble and deal with it quickly to keep them strong and healthy. Slugs and snails can also be a problem, so make sure you stock up with your favourite control methods. 

Plants of the Month
Brighten up your garden with our Plants of the Month. During the summer there’s so much to choose from for instant colour, including: roses, buddleia, cistus, deutzia, hebes, philadelphus, lilacs and weigela together with: aquilegia, delphiniums, hardy geraniums, irises and lupins. Take a good look around our planteria for plants looking great now to provide instant colour.

Seed Sowing 
If you need quick growing climbers to hide eyesores or provide summer colour, then try annual climbers. These include morning glory (ipomoea), canary creeper (Tropaeolum perigrinum) and the exotic purple bells of rhodochiton. Don’t forget that the plants will need trellis or a similar support to climb up. And tie in the stems regularly to prevent them becoming tangled and damaged.
Spring Bedding
Plan ahead for next year’s spring bedding displays. Now’s the time to sow seeds of all your spring favourites, including wallflowers, sweet Williams, polyanthus and primroses and winter-flowering pansies. Some can be sown outdoors in a seed bed, while others will need to be sown indoors with gentle heat. Take a look at the seed varieties we have in stock –and remember to pick up compost, seed trays, small pots, labels and anything else you’ll need for successful sowing.

Strawberries
Strawberries need pampering if you want to enjoy the juiciest of fruits this summer. Water regularly – especially plants in pots or strawberry towers – and feed weekly with a high potash liquid fertiliser. Also watch out for slugs and birds who love the fruit as much as we do. The easiest way to deter birds is to cover the plants with netting.

Summer bedding
June is the month to plant out your bedding and other half-hardy plants. These plants can’t tolerate cold weather, so have some fleece handy to provide extra protection. If you've grown your own, make sure they’re hardened off first – that is, acclimatised to the cooler outdoor conditions – again, using fleece will help. And water the plants well before and after planting out. Remember to feed regularly for a summer display to be proud of. Take a look at our superb range of bedding, patio and container plants to ensure your garden is a riot of colour this summer. And don't forget that larger plants will provide instant impact.

Water and feed your plants
You don’t need to regularly water all the plants in your garden, but all recently planted plants – especially bedding – and plants in containers and baskets will appreciate a good soak to keep them growing strongly. Watering plants in the ground little and often isn’t the best way as it encourages surface rooting and makes the plants more susceptible to drought. If you have a lot of plants to water, consider installing an automatic watering system. Feeding is also important. Either apply a liquid fertiliser regularly or add a long-lasting, once a year controlled-release fertiliser to the soil or compost. We stock a wide range of watering and feeding products – just visit in store and have a look.