20 July - Coping with the rain

Wet weather - The amount of rainfall some gardens have experienced this summer has been extraordinary, with flash flooding from the north of England to the south coast. With long-range forecasts showing continued unsettled weather, many gardeners may need to make changes to the usual work patterns for this time of year. But first the effects of so much water have to be tackled.

Tools and machinery - Pay greater attention to cleaning all tools and equipment prior to returning them to the shed.

Events - Nobody wants to cancel events, but depending on the state of lawns and paths, waterlogging and the ability of soils to drain quickly, it may have to be considered. Any events in muddy conditions are likely to lead to disgruntled visitors, may result in accidents and will almost certainly cause more damage. Give as much notice as possible to changes in your garden's calendar.

Visitor flow - If you have not already done so, look at routes around the garden and steer visitors away from saturated areas. Where there is a history of waterlogging, consider decompacting the ground or installing a drainage system.

Quick shower remedy - Keep a handheld blower handy for drying off benches and seating around cafes.

Lawns - Spike where water tends to stand. With grass growth continuing a pace, mowing may be more frequent than you would expect at this time of year. If soils are very wet, try to limit damage and compaction by using the lightest practical mower. Inspect daily for disease.

Gutters and ditches - Ensure that all guttering - on sheds, greenhouses and other buildings - is clear of debris and remove all grass and weed growth. Clean ditches.

Slugs and snails - Lush, vegetative growth after the wet summer is perfect for molluscs. Control where and when necessary.

Paved areas - Hard surfaces, especially old flags and timber decking, can become slippery when wet. Remove moss and algae.

Beds and borders - Pay attention to dead-heading, provide extra staking where needed, control weeds and keep alert for pests and diseases.

Water storage capacity - It does not necessarily follow that an Indian summer comes after a wet summer. But it might. Consider adding further capacity to make the most of collections from roof areas.


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