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Gardener's Diary 

                                 July 2010


Ornamental thistleWe had a real swarm of Lawn Chafer beetles in our area recently; their larvae eat away at grass roots and can decimate a lawn in weeks.
But one of our neighbours who had their lawn treated is still finding bare patches of lawn, so I'm wondering if this very expensive treatment is worth it. We weed and feed our lawn spring and autumn which apparently strengthens lawns and makes them less susceptible to lawn chafer damage.

The numbers of these ghastly bugs is increasing year on year, so perhaps my husband's idea of concreting the garden and painting it green isn't so daft after all...

More doom and gloom!

SUMMER is finally here and the sun is urging us to head outside and explore.

But if you fancy a nice stroll along the river bank, beware of the giant hogweed. Every summer, ramblers and gardeners fall victim to this aggressive botanical thug, suffering nasty burns and blisters caused by its poisonous sap.






An introduction from Rosemary Martin...

I have been gardening now as a hobby for about thirty years, but have no formal training..  I don't have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice, but I also think the modern trends work well. 

This column adds a new dimension to my interest in all aspects of horticulture and will hopefully help others find pleasure in this healthy and therapeutic pastime  ...  

Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife, remembering to tell me which country you are from..  

Click here for previous editions of Gardener's Diary..

Jobs for the month - July

The Kitchen Garden

The Kitchen Garden section has moved to a separate page, here...



Hanging baskets, tubs and window boxes

In hot dry spells, you will need to water sometimes as often as twice a day. Regular dead heading will help keep the plants flowering profusely. If you are going on holiday and have nobody to water your hanging baskets, remove them to a shady corner of the garden and stand them over a bucket of water. Or take them into the cool of the house.


Lawn chafer beetleLawns will still respond well to a `Weed and feed` which can be used until September, and which will revitalise and strengthen the roots, thereby protecting against lawn chafer grub damage..    I also use Verdone spot weeder for lawns on those elusive weeds in the lawn that always seem to survive. 


Any flowering shrubs that have finished blooming can be pruned now and will enjoy an overhead watering with a fine mist, on hot days.


We have squirrels in our garden, but they are welcome visitors and lovely to watch, despite stealing the bird food. The garden seems heavily populated with slugs and snails since it started to rain, but they will have to stay as I cannot put down slug pellets in case they harm the dogs... Broken egg shells and sharp gravel, placed around the plants planted in paved areas has really helped keep the hostas slug and snail free though..

After the harsh winter there have been an exceptional amount of birds breeding in our garden and it has been a wonderful time watching their progress..

Ponds and water features

This is fish-spawning time of year so take care to ensure your pond is well oxygenated. If you are removing blanket weed or other debris from your pond, do take care not to remove any baby frogs or fish fry that may be caught up in it. Feed your fish their maximum quota this month.

If you have a water feature the water can evaporate very quickly if the spray is set too high and doesn`t return to the reservoir it is stored in, or if the weather is very hot. So check the levels frequently. I find visiting small children love to touch water features and changing the water frequently helps keep a fairly germ free environment.. I have a pebble fountain and put some blue food colouring in the water which made it a beautiful fresh turquoise colour..

House plants

delphiniumTake care not to let houseplants burn this month, ensuring good air circulation and plenty of watering, with the occasional misting.

Some of my succulents appeared to have a problem with the white mealy bug, while other house plants in the conservatory had the beginnings of red spider mite. I don`t like using chemicals and therefore I was pleased to find a spray called "Nature`s Answer" made by The Scotts Company (UK) Limited and containing nothing more innocuous than fatty acids and sulphur, a mineral that occurs in nature. This spray worked a treat and was suitable for all my houseplants with the exception of ferns..


A nice easy maintenance job with a hoe this month that will prevent seedlings from growing too big and show your neighbours what an industrious person you are!  But choose a warm dry day for the task then the heat of the sun will kill off any bare weed roots.

Happy gardening till next month....

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Amazon book - Gardens of the National Trust. When the National Trust decided to take on the care of gardens, the aim was that these would be the very best of their kind in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Trust now has the finest collection of gardens ever assembled under one ownership..

Volunteering with the National Trust

Volunteers are active in all parts of the National Trust, from the new central office in Swindon to the summits of Snowdonia and Divis Mountain near Belfast.

View their latest opportunities, or find out more about the kind of roles and different places you can volunteer:

Still with the National Trust, some of the most visited National Trust properties are now holding regular farmers' and food markets.  Click here for details  and dates.



RHS gardens


Their four flagship gardens not only provide year-round interest and offer a wide range of courses, talks and demonstrations, they also demonstrate the best gardening practices, new techniques and exciting new plants to try in your garden.

Or go to their website for a diary of all other events at:-

Do you take advantage of the DEFRA website for information? I find it a valuable source of information, for up to date legislation, countryside matters and useful information such as plant pests and diseases, which saves me ploughing through all my gardening books, with the knowledge that their information is bang up to date...


Thompson & Morgan LogoThompson & Morgan 


Visit where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line.  Have a look to see what is new, and special seasonal offers


Some places to visit... 



The Eden Project


The living theatre of plants and people
The Eden Project is a gateway into the world of plants and people. A meeting place for all to discover how we depend on plants and how we can help to manage and conserve them for our mutual survival.


Kew Gardens two locations:-

Tel: 020 8332 5655 (24 hr)
Fax: 020 8332 5197

Royal Botanic Gardens

Tel: 01444 894066 (24 hr)
Fax: 01444 894069

Royal Botanic Gardens
Wakehurst Place
Nr Haywards Heath
West Sussex
RH17 6TN


The National Botanic Gardens of Scotland comprise:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scotland's Premier Garden

Benmore Botanic Garden, Argyll
Argyll's Magnificent Mountainside Garden

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Borders
Wonderful Woodland Garden

Logan Botanic Garden, Galloway
Scotland's Most Exotic Garden

The National Botanic Garden of WalesThe National Botanic Garden of Wales

The star attraction here is the 91 metre long domed glasshouse, that houses landscapes normally found in the Mediterranean. This would be a super place to visit on a chilly day...




Some websites of interest to gardeners:-



Carry on Gardening - The easier gardening web site from ThriveGardening is an important part of many people's lives. You don't have to give up gardening because of accident or illness, the onset of disability or the problems associated with growing older. The information on their website is designed to provide you with the information to Carry on Gardening.

Carry on Gardening was initiated by the horticultural charity Thrive and is funded by the National Lottery Charities Board.  It brings together information on easy ways of gardening gathered over 23 years by Thrive and research carried out since the early 1970s by Mary Marlborough Centre, Oxford, on tools and equipment for disabled and older people. 



Useful reading:-


"The Yellow Book" contains information of all Gardens of England and Wales open for charity, and can be bought priced ?5 from National Gardens Scheme

National Trust Gardens Handbook is ?6.99 and the new edition is out in May  Telephone 01394 389 950 or see their website

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