Holiday Preparations in the Garden

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For the serious gardener going on holidays is a bit of a curates egg: obviously getting away for a week or two, lolling around in the sun doing nothing but read and swim and a change of environment is heaven, but leaving the garden gives us great cause for anxiety. Who will do the watering? Who will mow the lawn? Who will take care of the slug problem? These are all vexing problems and that I without factoring precious, choice plants that need serious TLC.

Here a few tips to lessen the stress and cause the least damage brought on by absenteeism:

  1. Give the grass a really good cut and water if necessary and add a lawn weed and feed product (though don’t do this if you have just re-seeded). The grass will be longer when you return but you can zap the weeds will be zapped by the time you get back. Re-seed any bald patches left where the weeds were.
  2. Dead-head and cut back anything that will be gone over by the time you get back. Cut down to the base and the plants will regenerate and grow fresh new foliage and may even give a second flush of flowers.
  3. If you are fortunate enough to have an irrigation system in place good for you. For those of us who don’t, check the weather forecast. If a hot, dry spell is forecast (and typically it is just as you are about to go away) you may think about installing one or arrange with a neighbour to water. Mediterranean type plants will be fine; as will pelargoniums but other container plants really need water. Get some large, plastic (not terracotta, it dries out too quickly even though more aesthetically pleasing) and fill with water and plop the containers into the. Also invest in some water retaining crystals and mix into the compost in your pots. Water really well before you go. The rule of thumb is to water once, then when that has soaked in water again and a third time to ensure the compost is fully wet. Water around greedy plants and mulch on top around the plant. Give plants a good feeding too.
  4. Lay slug traps and pellets before you go.
  5. Spray roses and other aphid prone plants too.
  6. Edge the lawn and beds and have a really thorough weed and tidy.
  7. Stake plants that grow tall and put bamboo canes and wire or string around clumps liable to flop.
  8. Go away and forget about the garden and enjoy yourself – it will survive without you.
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