Get holiday maintenance underway in your garden

Home & Garden supplement
Home & Garden supplement
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With a few weeks left of the summer, there’s a chance you have a holiday on the horizon - but if you don’t want to return to bedraggled borders, dried-out pots and a lawn which looks like straw, take action now.

Before you go...weed, mow and water. Make sure beds and borders are tidy, weeded and well watered. Deadhead and cut back perennials which have finished flowering. Mow the lawn, leaving the clippings on it which will help conserve moisture should it be really dry when you’re away. Give containers and baskets a really good water and feed before you leave.

While you’re away...call on kindly neighbours, friends or family who live nearby to maintain your garden in your absence. Leave clear instructions and get them to harvest any ripening fruit and veg from your allotment or vegetable patch for their own use.They could even freeze what they don’t use. There are also many automatic irrigation systems on the market which can be timed to go on and off as you wish.

If you have a collection of patio pots, give them a really good soaking just before you go away and put them all together in a sheltered, shady spot which is open to the elements - including rain. Clustering them should help conserve moisture, reduce evaporation and make it easier for friends or neighbours to water. Stand the pots in saucers or trays which act as a reservoir and hold some of the excess water as it drains.

Hanging baskets can need watering twice a day in the height of summer, so if you don’t have a neighbour to do it, take down the basket and dig a depression in the soil in a shady border that you can sink the basket in. Water and feed the basket, ensuring the soil underneath is thoroughly soaked too and give your basket plants a good trim before you go.