More gardening tips from Audley End head gardener Alan North

Audley End

Audley End - Credit: Archant

Summer is in full swing! July is often one of the hottest months and a great time to enjoy relaxing in the garden. However, this is still a busy month if you want to keep on top of your garden.

Audley End

Audley End - Credit: Archant

At Audley End House and Gardens the team will be very busy making sure any new plants are suitably watered and establishing well. The summer bedding scheme in the Parterre will create a sensational display with more than 10,000 plants. The team will keep these plants looking good through careful watering and regular dead-heading, which will encourage further flowering.

Top tips for July

n Water in the morning when cooler temperatures allow the moisture to be absorbed before it evaporates. Concentrate your efforts on those plants that really need it and not wastefully sprinkling over the whole garden. Apply an organic mulch after watering to help retain moisture.

n Regular deadheading directs energy into more flowers and stronger growth. It helps keep the plant looking attractive and will encourage more blooms. The dying flowers of summer bedding plants can be simply pinched off between finger and thumb. Alternatively, use scissors or secateurs.

Audley End

Audley End - Credit: Archant


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n Pests love warm weather! Check plants for signs of damage and consider organic control. At Audley we focus on raising healthy plants, feeding our soil and give good spacing upon planting, which helps with air circulation. However, it is a real challenge, particularly in an organic garden. Also consider using biological controls and companion planting as a method of controlling pests.

n Give the lawn a summer feed. If weather conditions are dry and hot and the grass is weed free, leave the clippings on the lawn to help maintain ground moisture.

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n Get harvesting! Many crops will be now be perfectly ripe and ready to harvest. At Audley End our potatoes, strawberries, beans, peas, salads, raspberries, onions and cabbage are all being picked. These delicious items will be used in the tea rooms and a selection sold in our produce shop by the entrance to the kitchen garden.

n Find some time to make notes and take pictures of the garden while the borders are in full bloom. It amazes me how much I forget. I My essentials include what I have planted where and when, plant successes and failures, performance of vegetable and fruit varieties and best of all ... the taste!

Audley End

Audley End - Credit: Archant

When visiting the garden, make sure you visit our horses in the stables too and you may even see them delivering the produce to the house. As well as our weekend Life Above and Below Stairs with costumed characters in the nursery, service wing and stables, July also marks the start of the school holidays so be sure to visit with kids as we’ll have weekly events throughout the summer.

Do you have a question about your garden? Alan North is on hand to answer your queries and help solve your green-fingered woes. Send your questions, along with your name and address, to Garden Questions, Saffron Walden Reporter, 54 High Street, Saffron Walden, CB10 1EE, or email editor@saffronwalden-reporter.co.uk.

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