Brian Kidd urges you to relax in your garden this summer

Make time to put your feet up.  Picture: Alan Cleaver
Make time to put your feet up. Picture: Alan Cleaver
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I have never known such a long spell of wet weather, but it seems things might be beginning to improve. Yes, summer is coming so let’s see what we can do to cheer us up!

Treat the garden as an outdoor room and enjoy it with a new approach this year.

It’s important to spend time in the home and relax, but in the garden it seems there are always lots of jobs to be done and very little time to relax. This has got to change.

We should all plan to have more time for relaxing in the garden and the best idea is to decide what must be done, calculate the time required and keep to the schedule so all the main tasks are completed before the sun comes out. We can then sit in the sun or shade without having a guilty conscience.

How can we achieve this?

I’m sure there are jobs you dread. For example, and with tongue firmly in cheek, I can’t wait to trim the lawn’s edges with hand shears. I look forward to it all week; down on knees, trying to cut grass with shears that won’t cut when this could all be done in one fell swoop by lifting up the edge of the turf so it is just an inch above the path and the edge is then cut with the lawnmower.

Flower beds look wonderful but they are a lot of work. However, the garden wouldn’t be the same without them. At our place we don’t have a single flower bed. It’s all down to laziness.

I look at it this way – a bed has four edges to trim whereas at home flowers and shrubs are in curved borders. Edges are done in five minutes with Wilkinson Sword steel shears.

Have you ‘enjoyed’ the mower cable being pulled out of the socket? This jolly occurrence is a pain, especially when the cable catches around obstacles in the lawn. Or are you still struggling with a push­-pull job? I bet that keeps you fit. Standard roses, odd shrubs, gnomes, elves and dwarfs are all responsible for Murphy’s Law, which states the cable will be pulled out of the socket pretty soon.

Create borders rather than flower beds. It takes time undertaking the alterations, but in the end all the clutter is in a border. Birds won’t mind if their feeder is in a border – another cable-catcher resolved. No more things to move before you start the reaping.

The patio is a super place to treat as an outside room too. There’s a place for grandchildren to play, somewhere for the laundry to air and for the barbecue, which to some folk is the easiest way to ruin good food.

The patio, however is the ideal place for wall baskets, pots and containers which are quite quick to plant and it is possible to introduce a touch of Spain or southern France, even when the weather isn’t quite so balmy.

Now, what about a nice cuppa?


Hostas’ plump buds are poking through the soil and this is when tiny slugs eat their way through them. In spring, as the leaves unfurl, we’ll see lots of neat holes in the leaves.

To prevent this, drench the plant with Slug Clear and put a generous layer of sharp sand or sharp grit all over the soil. If you don’t have any grit, vermiculite will do.