Taking most of the summer off was not such a good idea for the garden. After another three week’s absence I returned to find that there had clearly been a drought while I was gone. Roses were covered in dead, brown buds, other plants had shrivelled and died away. No deadheading meant very poor flower shows – some had given up the ghost and gone to seed. The grass was knee high and the whole place stank of neglect. Despite my hight and mighty top tips for going on holiday preparations which I followed (almost) to the letter the place was a mess. So here are my top tips for what to do when you return from a holiday to find an unruly jungle on your doorstep:
- Immediately cut the grass. Things seem less chaotic and more manageable when the lawn is trim. Try to ignore the brown and bald patches – a little rain and some re-seeding will cure it in no time.
- Cut back plants that have given up the ghost and deadhead like mad – be cruel to be kind. This will give you a clearer view of the horrors that lie amongst the plants.
- Weed as if your life depended on it. The little brats will all be setting seed now so it is vital that you get them out. Follow the runners of plants with stolons such as creeping buttercup and find the mother plant.
- Trim hedges, shrubs and trees.
- Train and prune roses which have become unmanageable, especially climbers and ramblers.
- Deal with pests and diseases. Alway throw diseased plant cuttings in the bin or onto a bonfire. If you add them to compost you will spread the disease and only compound the problem.
- Make plans for gaps – add fillers or move plants (but water really well before and after moving and take a large rootball).
- Tidy up or renew container displays