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Get growing – 5 jobs to do in your late summer garden

Move over Gardener’s Question Time. From quick fix colour to grow-your-own, must-do maintenance and mood-boosting houseplants, check out these top tips from Hillier Garden Centres

Slap on a hat and some SPF and get pruning, growing and generally beautifying your outdoor and indoor spaces this month. We’ve called in the experts from Hillier Garden Centres for their top tips on making the most of your late summer garden. And the best news is you can save time and fuel by sofa-shopping online for plants, feeds, tools and more at the Hillier Online Garden Centre Shop.

1/ Plant for instant impact

There are so many beautiful plants in bloom right now that, once planted, should continue to develop year after year. Think French and English lavender and summer-flowering shrubs like abelia, abutilon, buddleja, calycanthus, cotinus, hibiscus, Hydrangea macrophylla, Hydrangea paniculata, potentilla. Good climbers include summer-flowering clematis varieties, Hydrangea petiolaris, jasmine and Passiflora.

Summer bedding plants, perennials, ornamental grasses like miscanthus and stipa and ferns are also good picks for adding colour to late summer gardens. Just remember to water them frequently while they establish, especially over the hot, dry summer months.

2/ Nail the indoor-outdoor aesthetic

The enduring, wellbeing-boosting interior design trend – and there’s no doubt bringing natural colour indoors makes sense and looks good. Houseplants like begonias, kalanchoe, orchids and roses are all flowering now. Get a welcome boost of green with ferns like Adiantum and succulents such as alocasia, chlorophytum, cordyline, ficus, kentia, monstera, schefflera and cacti.

3/Grow your own

There’s still time to plant those crops that are either fast-growing, or those that will overwinter. Go quick to sow carrots, lettuces, winter spinach, radishes and turnips. Don’t forget to water (lower frequency and higher volume watering is best).

To help deter veg patch pests, consider ‘companion planting.’ Planting marigolds can deter whitefly and also attract ladybirds, which will help to control aphids. Plant nasturtiums alongside your brassicas to attract cabbage white butterflies away from your precious greens. And plant pungent vegetables like onions, garlic or chives next to your carrots to deter carrot fly (yep – it is a thing!).  

4/ Prune and Feed

Deadheading faded flowers from almost all of your garden plants is a good way to encourage a second flush. In particular, deadhead roses frequently as the first flush fades to encourage repeat flowering. When deadheading roses, cut down to the next outward facing bud and always cut shoots at a side angle to help ensure water runs over the cut and down the stem.

Feeding is also important in your late summer garden. Applying a good feed regularly, particularly to containers and baskets, will help keep your garden in full bloom. Tend to roses with a special rose feed containing high potash as they grow to encourage a stronger, healthier flower. Mulch around them after feeding. High potash feeds are also good for tomatoes and fruit trees as they promote strong fruit production and increased sugar levels, meaning higher yields and sweeter fruit.

5/ Put in some maintenance

Regularly mowing your lawn will keep it neat and tidy but cutting the grass too short will strip it of vital moisture and nutrients so, if possible, keep your blade setting high. A high-nitrogen lawn feed such as Aftercut Ultra Green should gelp to keep grass lush and thick.

A ‘little and often’ approach of a few minutes each week removing weeds from borders and containers is a good way keep weeds at bay. And on warmer days, open greenhouse vents and doors to keep it cool and ventilated and to prevent disease and fungus problems. If you have the space, consider getting a water butt to collect and recycle rainwater.

And finally… Great escape on the cards? If you are going away, make sure you have a plan in place so you return to a garden in the same good condition that you left it. And don’t forget a souvenir thank you for the kindly soul taking on your watering duties.

For more expert tips, garden essentials and offers, join the Hillier Gardening Club or shop online at

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