Improve the garden ready for next year

Euphorbia polychroma
Euphorbia polychroma
Brian Andrews, Frances Leppard and Charles Mobsby with their trophies

Top-notch daffodils reap rewards as village spring show returns for 2018

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Now is the time to look back at the summer months and try to decide how we can improve the garden – and, with a bit of luck, find ways of making it a bit easier to maintain.

At home the Leylandii hedges are being cut for the last time this year. It’s a job that’s not exactly hated, but certainly not enjoyed. Fortunately, it’s far easier now because the heights have all been reduced.

But, just as important, the widths have been reduced so that the electric trimmer can cut the top from one side.

We saved up for a Stihl trimmer with a very long blade. It’s very sharp and extremely efficient, a professional’s tool. I’m delighted with it.

Mowing the grass takes a long time, but it always looks good.

Rather than having trees and flower beds in the way of the mower, the beds have been turned into borders with carefully-designed edges which are easy to mow around.

Good clean-cut edges are also an advantage as the plants are situated so that the foliage is completely away from the mower.

Some of these changes have been a bit of a challenge and have taken a long time to implement.

But the result is very pleasing and we are not wasting precious time trying to get round obstacles.

A very simple change was to remove the bird bath from the grass and put it into a border.

No longer did it have to be avoided and the prayer mat was no longer needed to clip the grass around the base.

But above all, the birds use it even more than before because it isn’t so blooming obvious.

Now, a major job has to be tackled soon.

This concerns the herbaceous border, as it has to be dug over, then manured with well-rotted compost and matured farmyard manure.

If this job is left for another year, there will be huge gaps in this border.

Each clump will be dug out, placed on to thick cardboard on the lawn on pleasant days and, using two garden forks, I’ll split the clumps and replant the outside pieces afterwards.

There are some gems such as Aster Alma Porsche, Helenium, Euphorbia polychroma, and Japanese anemones, all of which will be increased in number with a reduction of Chrysanthemum maximum, which has spread like mad!

This challenge will give us the opportunity of removing convolvulus, couch grass, ivy and willow herb which invades the garden.

Just out of interest, jobs like these not only improve the garden but give us something to look forward to next summer!