Professional gardener - Garden appeal

School holidays It is estimated that one-in-four working families will deposit children with grandparents for much of the long summer break. Can you do to more encourage the grandparents to bring these future garden visitors to your garden?

Research & records Now is a good time to go through catalogues, plan next year’s displays and order spring-flowering bulbs. Update sowing, planting, harvesting, performance, pesticide and training records.

Weather Check that all staff have wet-weather gear and sunblock. Also check prices and supply of grit and de-icer and inspect snow-clearing equipment well ahead of winter.

General duties Spot treat perennial weeds. Water plants as necessary and top up any missing or sagging mulch. Thunderstorms can hit at any time, so make sure that all guttering, downpipes and water channels are clear. Renovate and preserve timber fencing and furniture.

Water It is always worth considering collecting and storing water. If you do not already have a suitable facility, consider rainwater collection methods. Rainwater harvesting kits — complete with tank, filters, automatic pump, hose and plumbing connections — are available from several sources, including Southern Tank Services and Access Irrigation.

Trees, shrubs & hedges Deadhead and prune early summer-flowering shrubs. Deadhead roses and feed to boost growth. Remove basal growth from trees. Trim hedges.

Beds & borders Deadhead faded flowers and provide extra staking where needed. Collect seed from perennials as they mature and cut back any that are spreading or collapsing. Apply general fertiliser to late-flowering subjects such as chrysanthemums. Transplant biennial seedlings. Divide bearded and rhizomatous irises. Trim lavender and cut for drying.

Wall plants, bulbs & containers Cut back wisteria. Plant autumn-flowering bulbs. Regularly feed and water container displays.

Greenhouses & conservatories Shade, damp down and water regularly. Start taking fuchsia and regal pelargonium cuttings. Prick out seedlings of Calceolaris and Browallia as well as other winter-flowering pot plants when ready.

Water features Inspect regularly for algae bloom and treat accordingly. Thin out overgrown plants. Keep an eye on water levels and top up as necessary in prolonged dry spells.

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A monthly checklist of things to do and watch out for to keep your garden looking its best.