Last month was a really dry month for East Lothian so keeping up with the watering of your pots and planters has been a real priority. Established plants in the ground should be fine, but if you have recently planted any new specimens then make sure they get a really good soaking every couple of days.
At this time of year it’s all about prolonging your summer displays which should be at their height just now. Regular watering is the best thing so that the plants don’t get stressed by being dried out. Even if you added slow release granules to your containers and baskets when you planted them, a weekly feed with a liquid high potash fertiliser will help to keep those beautiful blooms coming.
Keep deadheading your roses to encourage more flowers and check regularly for signs of disease. It’s a good time to plan new rose plantings and to start preparing the soil for autumn by digging in plenty of organic matter. Avoid planting roses in ground where roses have been grown before, as they are unlikely to thrive. But if there is no option then it is important to dig out the old soil and replace with fresh compost or rotted manure. We have some lovely new roses at Merryhatton including our current favourites Olympic Spirit, a stunning orange coloured rose, and Dawn Chorus, a lovely peachy one!
Other flowering plants will also benefit from regular deadheading, particularly sweet peas.
Early flowering perennials such as geraniums can start to look straggly and untidy at this point of the summer. To encourage new growth, cut back to ground level and apply a sprinkling of general fertiliser then water well. The plant will soon develop a mound of fresh foliage and often more flowers!
This warm weather means that pests and diseases can take hold quickly so check often and treat appropriately. The most common problem Merryhatton customers ask about is fungal diseases such as mildew and rust. Our advice is to limit their spread by removing the affected foliage and then spraying with a fungicide. Another common problem at this time of year is vine weevil grubs which feed on the roots of container grown plants. If a plant shows signs of ailing, pop it out of its pot and look for the small white grubs in the compost – they are easy to spot! Remove and destroy them and repot your plant in fresh compost.
Although we are still enjoying high summer it’s not too early to start planning your spring displays. The first spring bulbs have arrived at Merryhatton and the early bird gets the best choice! Bulb planting can start late August with daffodils (which need early planting to develop good roots), muscari and erythroniums, followed in September by most other kinds. Tulip bulbs however are best left until November.