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Gardening tips for summer

Written by
Image of Pam Smith
Pam SmithSenior National Consultant for Gardens and Parklands, National Trust
Gardener working in the upper garden at Quarry Bank, Cheshire
Gardener working in the upper garden at Quarry Bank | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

With colourful blooms to enjoy, fruit to pick and wildlife to watch, the summer months are rewarding for many gardeners and growers. Discover how to make the most of the summer season with some top tips from our gardeners.

Cut back plants

At this time of year, it's a good idea to trim your perennials so that they flower for longer and keep their strength and vigour.

Many gardeners like to do the ‘Hampton Court’ hack in July. This method involves taking the shoot of a plant in your flower border and cutting back by roughly a third.

Deadhead flowering plants

It's important to deadhead flowering plants to keep them healthy and blooming for as long as possible, unless they have attractive seedheads or berries. Always consider letting some flowers go to seed for interest and wildlife.

Avoid over-watering

You may not need to water as much as you think, especially if the soil is healthy and the ground is covered by plants or mulches.

Give your plants a drink if they are starting to wilt but don't just water the surface of the soil as this will cause shallow rooting.

It's best to water your garden first thing in the morning or in the evening.

A border of brightly coloured flowers in the sun
Summer borders in the upper garden at Quarry Bank in Cheshire | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Limit digging during dry periods

Our gardeners warn against a lot of digging in dry weather as it damages the soil structure, increases moisture loss and disturbs plant roots.

Let your lawn grow

We're working with Blue Diamond garden centres to create a range of plants, seeds and bulbs inspired by the gardens we care for. Jim Teague, Head of Blue Diamond Bridgemere Nursery, recommends letting your grass grow during the summer months to help wildlife:

'You may not realise that some of the most common, unassuming garden features can house thriving worlds of wildlife. Our lawns for example, especially areas of uncut long grass along the edge of a border or a grass verge, are an important habitat for all sorts of insects and birds. Don't be too quick to cut your lawns.'

Plant autumn bulbs

Late summer is a good time to plant autumn bulbs, including cyclamens, colchicums and dahlias.

Take cuttings for next year

Early summer or midsummer are good times of year to propagate plants grown from softwood cuttings. For those that need semi-ripe cuttings, wait until late summer or early autumn. It's said that the best way to conserve a plant is to give it away. Sharing cuttings is a great way to say thank you and make new friends.

Gardener working in the walled garden at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Get gardening

Our gardeners are on hand with ideas for your garden, plot or window box. From planting veg to tackling weeds, they’ve got all the important topics covered.

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