Category Archives: Summer

5 Materials to Mulch Your Garden With This Summer

Applying a mulch to garden beds and borders is generally a great habit to get into, and is beneficial at most times in the year. It helps to keep moisture and goodness in the soil, keeps plant’s roots warm and suppresses weeds. Early summer is a great time to mulch, reducing the need to water as regularly as normal when the heat arrives. However, you can be creative with what you use to mulch, rather than traditional manure or bark chippings. Below are five environmentally-friendly materials that you can use to protect your plants.

Garden compost

Mulching the base of a cut back Agapanthus with natural garden compost - © GAP Photos

Mulching the base of a cut back Agapanthus with natural garden compost – © GAP Photos

Mulching with home-made garden compost is a fantastic way of giving the soil surrounding your plants a nutrient boost, as well as reusing your garden waste.

Marbles

Carex in red seaside bucket with mulch of marbles - © GAP Photos/Julia Boulton

Carex in red seaside bucket with mulch of marbles – © GAP Photos/Julia Boulton

Why not make your mulching decorative and include glass pebbles or marbles? These materials are probably better suited to mulching plants in containers, so they can all be kept together and do not end up getting lost around the garden.

Grass Cuttings

Solanum tuberosum 'Epicure' - Applying grass clippings as a mulch to earthed up organic Potatoes - © GAP Photos/Maxine Adcock

Solanum tuberosum ‘Epicure’ – Applying grass clippings as a mulch to earthed up organic Potatoes – © GAP Photos/Maxine Adcock

Don’t add your grass cuttings to the compost heap, instead spread them under plants in borders or over your vegetable garden to add goodness to the soil. This method is sustainable, and good for the environment and your garden.

Straw

Fragaria - Ripening strawberries mulched with straw in June - © GAP Photos/Maxine Adcock

Fragaria – Ripening strawberries mulched with straw in June – © GAP Photos/Maxine Adcock

Straw is a fantastic mulch to use in the summer, especially for low-growing fruit and vegetables such as strawberries, as it creates a clean barrier between the harvest and the soil, and keeps the plant’s roots cool.

Broken slate and pebbles

Step 7 of planting an Acer in a terracotta pot - Cover the surface with broken shale for extra drainage - © GAP Photos/BBC Magazines Ltd

Step 7 of planting an Acer in a terracotta pot – Cover the surface with broken shale for extra drainage – © GAP Photos/BBC Magazines Ltd

Adding stones and pebbles as a mulch to containers and pots serves as both a decorative and practical purpose. It keeps moisture in the soil, and adds a natural topdressing to hide unsightly soil.

Church View

Gravel path leading towards mature Apple tree, with wooden curved seat at its base, and late summer borders with perennials and grasses on sloping back cottage garden at Church View, Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria NGS - © Fiona Lea/GAP Photos

Gravel path leading towards mature Apple tree, with wooden curved seat at its base, and late summer borders with perennials and grasses on sloping back cottage garden at Church View, Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria NGS – © Fiona Lea/GAP Photos

A country garden the belies its youth in providing fullness, variety and an abundance of colour.

Although Church View is a fine old sandstone cottage, it has a newly developed back garden on a sloping site. Landscape gardener and plantsman, Ian Huckson, transformed the half-acre garden in just 3 years. It took one year of clearance and hard-landscaping followed by two years of planting and cultivation. The planting was carried out from autumn 2007 to spring 2008. The garden belies its youth in providing fullness, variety and an abundance of floral display. Ian takes particular pride in the design and quality of his plantings. Helen and Ian have worked together for many years and as Ian says, ‘we have similar garden tastes, which is great.’

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Islington Garden

Modern urban garden with stone paved patio and containers.

Raised pavers lead back towards the house and dinning area in this London garden, over this planting of Stipa arundinacea, ruby red holly hocks and yellow Phlomis russeliana - © Nicola Browne/GAP Photos

Raised pavers lead back towards the house and dinning area in this London garden, over this planting of Stipa arundinacea, ruby red holly hocks and yellow Phlomis russeliana – © Nicola Browne/GAP Photos

This urban garden of a family home in London has a lovely outdoor dining areaon the natural stone terrace.

Beyond the terrace is a lawn for play and at the bottom of the garden a further terrace for entertaining.

The garden is on two different levels. The area between the terrace and the lawn is planted loosely with perennials. ‘Floating’ stone steps rise up among the planting. Clever use of planting and hard landscaping creates lots of texture and movement.

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