How we can have just a little bit more summer?


By the time you read this, you’ll no doubt have considered flicking the heating on! Temperatures have cooled and Mums up and down the county would insist on you wearing a jacket. By jove, the garden is enjoying some respite. This summer has been a toughie, with beige lawns, dehydrated hanging baskets and the “head gardener” sunbathing, rather than working.

September brings a lot of change in our gardens, and it’s a time to plan ahead, re-assess and have a bit of a clean-up. You’ll often find the temperature during September is ‘just right’, which makes those little tasks all the more pleasurable!

I’ll be helping out my Dad out in his garden a bit, if he’ll let me. You know how parents can be… ‘as long as you clear up afterwards’… Yes, Dad…! As some of you may know, I’ve been of no fixed abode for a couple of years now, since moving to freelance work. My mixed portfolio of work in the horticultural industry has been taking me far and wide, with stints in USA, China and Japan. But, the motherland is calling me back a bit now, with the development of my show ‘Michael’s Garden World’ on your QVC screens. So, until I find an outdoor space I can call my own, I’ll be working (and clearing up afterwards) on my Dad’s patch!

I’ve been so pleased with how my show has developed so far, and thank you all for your support in welcoming my ‘new face’! My new show adds into the existing schedule, and I have some real experts to look up to. I’m a through and through plantsman, but when it comes to machinery, my knowledge (and confidence!) isn’t so great. But, I’m looking forward to my journey of discovery, as I’ll be asking most of the questions you guys at home would. You can expect lots of non-scary, easy use tools, which trim down your gardening time immensely!

I’m also enjoying working behind the scenes on some of the 2019 themes for our gardening shows, and we have a mouth-watering selection of plants for you too, for every place in your outdoor space, and then some houseplants too…!

We’ve also been adding some editorial content to the shows, in order to give you the full gardening experience, and helping hand, with your outdoors. You’ll now be getting regular gardening tips and weekly jobs, plus we will be showcasing some of the best plants that week. We also want to see your photos, so please send them over whenever you have something looking good in your garden!

Anyway, let’s get back to September and talk about what should be happening in your garden right now.

The last squeeze

The power of bedding plants often floors me. Some pocket rockets can bloom from late June to early September given the right care. Just count those months – June, July, August, September –  four months of colour! Now you can see why bedding plants are such great value! Just because the weather has cooled, don’t be too quick to rip them out, a little tidy and deadhead can give a further flush. You may also find a couple of final doses of Richard Jackson’s Flower Power will bring them back to their summer prime too! Papa Perry has been testing Flower Power this season, and his Geranium Calliope have loved it!

Replacing the bedding

When you really feel like your plants have flowered their hearts out, and have no more to give, that’s the time to replace them. Act swiftly with this though. Once your plants die off, the decaying foliage could spread disease on the soil, so always keep a tidy garden out there.

The online bedding range on the QVC website has a few choices that can take the place of those fading summer specimens. Wallflowers, primroses and pansies tend to flower when the weather is in-between cold and hot, so will perform at their best during autumn and spring. A lot of home gardeners don’t get their act together soon enough to make the most of autumn flowering bedding, but don’t get caught out this year. Plant, Grow, Replace, Repeat.

The magic of bulbs

I’ve written recently about the spring bulb shortage across Europe, thanks to this year’s heatwave, so there’s never been a better time to get your bulbs ordered and delivered. Bulbs are amongst the easiest of things to grow, and great for beginners. All the goodness is in the bulb, so you barely need to water them!

I would recommend some of the dwarf tulips as carpeting and ground cover, they also work well as a layered planting in patio pots, mix them with your primroses and pansies. Get creative!

Your autumn clear up

Keep your gardens and patios healthy by putting some time aside for an autumn clean up. Empty patio pots of any decaying plants (don’t forget hanging baskets too!), wash down any patios, clean out greenhouses, sweep up leaves, tidy your garden as if you would your home!

We’ve recently featured the acclaimed Wet & Forget product on our QVC shows, and I have been amazed by the results of this secret formula. The latest mix attacks moss, mould, lichen and algae, starting the dissolving process within just seven days! Be careful with Wet & Forget around your plants though, make sure you cover them with plastic sheet if the surface you’re treating is nearby! I’ve written more about this product recently here and had a fab launch show with QVC dame Anne Dorrington.

What to do with autumn leaves?

Well, unless you’re an artist like Andrew Goldsworthy (see below), then you’ll probably be wanting to sweep them up. Save the strain of sweeping or raking by considering a leaf blower!

It’s especially important to remove decaying fallen leaves from lawns and patios, to prevent the spread of fungal diseases and slippery surfaces. However, you may want to put aside a wildlife corner, where you can leave things a little bit more natural, and create habitats for insects and wildlife.

Look out for some beautiful September scenes too, it’s often a month for effervescent sunsets and glimmering light. If you’re looking around and thinking you’re lacking in September blooming flowers, then why not have a little wander around your neighbourhood and then have a browse online. I’m going to leave you with a gallery of suggestions, all of which will ensure you garden is gleaming way beyond the summer main event!

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