Jobs to do in the garden this week.

  • Take cuttings of shrubs: senecio, lavender, sage, rosemary, fuchsia, hebe, daphne, cistus, choisya and azalea.
  • Prune wisteria by shortening the whippy lateral shoots to about six buds from the main stems.
  • It’s time to lift and divide bearded irises. Replant rhizomes so they are sitting on the top of the soil surface.
  • Prepare the garden now if you are going on holiday. Water all shrubs well, including roses and climbers, then lay 2-3in thick mulch on top of the soil around their roots to keep the roots cool.
  • If the your grass has grown long while you have been on holiday, give it a cut with the blade set quite high and then lower a few days later, this reduces the chance of the grass going into shock and allowing weeds to get established
  • Hydrangea flowers will fade quickly in the sun, if you are growing them in pots move them to a shady area of the garden.
  • Sink pots of compost among strawberry plants and pin root runners into them.
  • Cut back the sideshoots by half of any trained fruit trees.
  • Pinch out the tips of broad beans to discourage blackfly.
  • Feed container grown fruit trees with a liquid potash fertiliser
  • Keep an eye out for clematis wilt, cut out any affected parts and burn or put the trimmings in the bin.
  • Continue to earth up potatoes, to stop the tubers being exposed to light, turning green.
  • If you are going on holiday either get a neighbour to water your house plants, hanging baskets and patio planters, alternatively put all of your plants including house plants on the patio or lawn, put the lawn sprinkler between them and connect the hose to an outside tap using a water timer (set the timer to come on twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening - 10 minutes each time should be sufficient). Test the settings before you go away.
  • Flag Iris leaves will start to droop now that they have finished flowering. Lift and divide the clumps.
  • Check shrubs reguraly for aphids, treat with a soap or chemical spray.
  • Pick strawberries as soon as they are ripe, left on the plant they will over ripen, rot and encourage pests and diseases.
  • Lift old strawberry plants before planting with new stock. Burning or disposing of the old plants, rather than putting them in the compost bin, will help prevent any disease and viruses from spreading.
  • Summer prune apple trees to encourage swelling of the fruit.
  • Feed tomato plants fornightly with a liquid fertiliser (this must be diluted in water to prevent burning the plants)
  • Tie tomato stems to canes or stakes to prevent the weight of the fruit breaking the plant.
  • Pond fish will eat more in the summer, feed them little and often, once or twice a day. If the food has not been eaten within 15 minutes, remove and dispose of the excess.
  • Ensure that soil in hanging baskets and patio planters is kept moist. Remove fading and dead flower heads from plants, this will encourage new flowers. Feed hanging baskets and planters weekly with liquid fertiliser if a slow release fertiliser was not added when planting the basket.
  • Apple and pear trees will shed some fruit, this is known as the 'June drop'. This is quite natural, it's the trees way of restricting the amount of fruit that develop.
  • Move houseplants outside for some summer sunshine.
  • Depending on recent weather conditions and daytime temperature, gooseberries should now be ready to be picked.
  • Continually nip out side shoots from upright (cordon) tomato plants. These reduce the amount of food available to fruit baring branches. If growing plants in the greenhouse, nip out the growing tip after the plant has produced 4-5 fruiting trusses, reduce this to 3-4 if growing tomatoes outside. See here, for more information: https://youtu.be/zFBgCBaFSnk
  • Cover strawberries and fruit bushes with netting to protect them from birds. Start to feed the plants weekly when the fruit starts to form.
  • Stake and tie perennials to prevent them being broken by wind and rain. Remove fading delphinium flowers to encourage a second flowering.
  • Check the ties on climbers, flower stems and standard roses - the tops of plants can get very heavy when in full bloom or when wet.
  • Take soft wood cuttings from thyme. Thyme cuttings take easily, so they can be stuck in the soil or in pots. Remember that thyme likes full sun and hates to be grown in the shade.
  • The adult vine weevil, the number one garden pest, will be emerging from the soil as the temperatures rise.
  • Protect plants from slugs and snails with slug pellets, course grit or traps. Alternatively try to encourage birds, hedgehogs and frogs to your garden - all prey on slugs and snails. More suggestions to reduce slug and snail damage.
  • Regularly water trees and shrubs that were planted last autumn and winter. Their roots won't have had a chance to fully develop yet.
  • Cut grass weekly, long grass takes more nutrients out of the soil. It is also harder to cut and may leave yellow patches in the lawn.
  • Apply a weed and feed to established lawns. Water in with a hose after a few days if it hasn't rained.
  • Feed established roses, fortnightly, with a rose fertilizer, dead-head regularly and check for aphids and black spot.
  • Lift, divide and replant chives.
  • Weed and spread compost from the compost bin over the borders and vegtable patch. This adds valuable nutrients to the soil and acts as a mulch, to retain moisture and reduce weed growth. Ensure that the soil is moist before adding mulch.