With all the hot and dry weather around this summer, have you done your bit to help water companies to supply us?
At the time of writing this, water companies say that we have enough water but, we are using it faster than it can be treated and supplied to us!
We can all help by:
Taking showers and NOT baths- a 5 minute shower uses 40 litres of water (half the volume of a standard bath)
Not washing the car- but remember to keep registration plates, lights and windows clear
Don’t water lawns. Although they look dead, they will grow back quickly when it rains
Turn off the tap when you clean your teeth. A running tap uses up to nine litres of water a minute
Use a watering can in the garden NOT a sprinkler or a hosepipe. Sprinklers and hosepipes left running can use between 500 and 1,000 litres of water an hour
Fit a water butt to collect rainwater off your roof. Water butts store 200 litres of water. Using rainwater reduces the amount of treated water you use. Plants prefer rainwater anyway!
Going on holiday in August? Have you got anyone to look after your houseplants while you are away? If not, don’t forget to move your houseplants in a cool, shady room or in a shady spot outside. Then by giving them a good soak before you go, they should last for a week or two until you get back.
Now is the perfect time to start prepping your lawn, nurturing the bare patches and encouraging new growth. You may think that it is a simple case of throwing some seeds on the damaged area and watering heavily – but you would be very wrong!
Nigel Hopes, head of external areas at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, has some top tips to help rejuvenate your lawn and make you the envy of your street this National Gardening Week.
Caring for Your Lawn Steps
Caring for your lawn takes work, but once you are sitting in your garden this summer, looking proudly over your patch of heaven, you’ll be glad you did.
Firstly, take out any weed growth as these will compete with any new grass seedlings as they come up. Make sure you dig over the area with a border fork as some will be quite compacted
Then, break up the ground ready for the new seeds. The seeds have to be sown in fine soil, so make sure you keeping digging and turning the soil over until it is perfect
If you have a cultivator, use this over the soil to make sure you get it as fine as possible
If you have any divots, fill them up with dry topsoil to ensure your lawn is the same level. Once you have filled the hole, use the sole of your shoe and slowly press down to make sure any holes are gone
Once all the divots are filled, sprinkle grass seed over the area, before gently raking the seed in
Finally, water the area to encourage the seeds to grow and germinate
Never really understood how to prune shrubs properly? Are you always wildly cutting the top of your shrubs? This National Gardening Week, we are here to help.
Below are a series of videos, as well as a blog, to help you make the most of your shrubs and keep them healthy. Remember, you can always ask us if you have any questions.
Why prune your shrubs?
Nigel’s top tips for pruning shrubs:
To keep the shrub neat, compact, healthy and encourage flowering wood or larger leaves.
REMEMBER: Pruning shrubs at the wrong time of the year can remove this year’s flowers!
It is always better to let most shrubs come into flower first and ONLY prune straight after flowering to prevent cutting off next year’s flowering shoots.
Before pruning, look for the three d’s; dead, diseased and damaged old wood. These are the areas you will definitely need to cut back
Next, make sure you are cutting from the base. The new growth always comes from the pruning cut, so make sure you take about a third of the old wood out – the flowers will then be at face height, where they can be appreciated
Make sure you use the right tools to make your incisions, a pruning saw is ideal! Our team are well trained with these tools, so be very careful and follow all health and safety guidelines on the packet if you are using one
If your shrub has knotted branches at the base, make the process a little easier for yourself by removing the majority of the wood first. Make an initial cut to get rid of the height and weight, then make a final cut closer to the base.
If any branches have rubbed together and caused damage, make sure you cut them, making way for new, healthy growth
Lastly, make sure you prune your shrub every couple of years to rejuvenate it and keep it looking at its best