Celebrity gardener Kim Wilde explains how you can keep a flourishing garden this summer.
July is often the warmest month of the year and, with hosepipe bans in many areas, it is certainly time to wise up to water. Containers are the most vulnerable to drying out, especially if they are porous ones, such as terracotta or wood. Always use a mulch to help reduce water loss such as gravel, pebbles or bark chip; mulches will also show plants off to their best advantage. Dark containers will absorb more heat than light-coloured ones, so why not jazz up the patio and get painting those pots in bright pastel shades? I always line porous containers with recycled plastic, not forgetting to make holes in the bottom, along with crocks for drainage, and use a loam-based compost, which holds water and nutrients more effectively.
Of course the best way to beat the dry weather is to grown drought resistant plants of which there are a wide variety. Trees include Eucalyptus, Betula and Rhus, while shrubs such as lavender, Santolina and Cistus will bring a taste of the Med to your plot!
Ornamental grasses are among some of my favourite plants and Stipa gigantea, or the smaller Stipa tennuissima, will thrive in dry conditions whilst bringing movement and grace to your garden. Keep an eye on small water features, which will be losing a lot of moisture through evaporation, by checking water levels regularly to make sure the pump is still covered in water. Enjoy your summer.