Tips to keep your garden looking lush into autumn

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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On hot days herbaceous plantings will often show signs of sun wilt. Do not waste valuable water irrigating these during the day. With a cooler temperature in the evening these plants are well able to recover.

Should hot weather continue, save washing-up water and use this in late evening when it has a chance to soak down into the root zone rather than be evaporated into the atmosphere by the sun.

Dead head regularly. To prolong the display of colour in the borders nip off the faded and dead flower heads. This prevents energy going to seeds at the expense of future flower production.

Making compost? Good compost relies on moisture to keep the process active. In dry weather chuck a bucket of water over the heap regularly. Don’t forget to add a combination of green and woody material, mixing all together and turning regularly for best results.

Prevent tall plants in the herbaceous border flopping over each other by doing some staking and cutting back. Remember, some will have ornamental seed heads that, left alone, can provide autumn and winter interest. Others such as the large yellow composite Centaurea macrocephala are ideal to cut and dry for use as indoor decoration.

If your lawn is starting to look tired, raise the height of cut and extend the frequency of mowing. Move garden furniture regularly to prevent wear beneath.

This year’s high sunshine levels have seen blanket weed spread over ponds. This can be removed by drawing a split stick across the surface. Barley straw can be added to help keep it under control. Remove the spent flowers of water lilies and add a fertiliser tablet to the basket ensuring flowering to the first frosts.

Sow a catch crop of lettuce and a row of spinach. With the warmth in the soil and a splash of water in the seed drill germination will be rapid.

• Tony Garn is garden supervisor at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh