Peonies
Peonies
Top tips and recommendations on how to prepare your garden for summer to get the best out of your blooms and vegetables in association with Wilko.
Bike
Bike
Top tips and recommendations on how to prepare your garden for summer to get the best out of your blooms and vegetables in association with Wilko.
Pots and Trowel
Pots and Trowel
Top tips and recommendations on how to prepare your garden for summer to get the best out of your blooms and vegetables in association with Wilko.
Seeds
Seeds
Top tips and recommendations on how to prepare your garden for summer to get the best out of your blooms and vegetables in association with Wilko.
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Prepping The Garden For Summer {With Wilko}

Author: Lolly Gautier-Ollerenshaw

It’s been a while since I last shared a gardening post. I think it was even as late as last year when a green piece went out – all about the Tulip Lasagnes in case you were wondering.

I wanted to say a huge thank you to those of you who messaged me on Instagram with pictures of your own ‘lasagne’ experiments. They looked amazing and I felt all glowy inside when you mentioned that I had given some of you the confidence to give them a go and that it’s now inspired you to go on to experiment further in the garden. Go you!

So it’s May already and before you know it we’ll be luxuriating in fresh new Summer growth so today’s post is all about preparing your garden for the months ahead. We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Wilko on this post as they have such a huge gardening range. Having purchased from them on multiple occasions I can testify to their excellent service and product quality so it’s worth bearing them in mind if you’re looking to invest in some gardening kit.

Anyway I digress…shall we get started.

General Maintenance

General maintenance is as good a place to start if any. Assuming like myself that you’re not starting a garden from scratch, you’ll want to make sure that you get kitted up for the season ahead.

If there’s four gardening tools I can’t live without then they have to be a hand trowel, a small fork, a hoe and some garden gloves.

The hoe for obvious reasons…whilst the summer months provide the perfect growing conditions for luscious plants, those pesky weeds also benefit too! Wilko’s Stainless Steel Dutch Hoe is perfect for helping to lift and remove weeds in and around flower beds and vegetable plots easily without you having to break too much of a sweat.

Both the hand trowel and fork are incredibly useful when it comes to planting, weeding and moving soil. I’m also a sucker for traditionalism and like the wooden handle for aesthetic reasons.

And whilst I don’t mind getting my hands dirty I find keeping a pair of gardening gloves to hand incredibly useful when it comes to pruning plants that are especially prickly – I’m looking at you roses!

Veggies

If there’s one thing I learned from my own experiences last Summer then it’s not to grow vegetables for the sake of it. Or rather don’t grow those veggies that you’re not really going to eat. Instead concentrate your efforts on those plants that you know the whole family will love; it’s much more sustainable and practical that way…and saves you so much time in the long run.

For us, this means carrots, tomatoes (although technically a fruit), potatoes, peas, french beans, herbs and salad leaves. I’ve vowed never to grow Borlotti beans after they were massacred by slugs last year. For peas and beans I always use root trainers as it allows their roots to grow long which is essential for supporting their top heavy bounty and also for drawing maximum benefit from the soil. I’m on my second lot of seeds having sowed the first round earlier in the year so it’s not too late to benefit but I’d recommend sowing direct into the soil at this stage of the year. Wilko have a plethora of seeds to choose from so I recommend popping along to see what they have to offer. I would recommend Dwarf French Beans which if you sow now you could be looking to crop in September. Equally these peas are good too!

Another tip of mine is to tie in growing beans and peas to a supportive frame with twine rather than wire as this is kinder on growing stems and leaves.

May is the perfect time to grow carrots too. This strain from Wilko has improved carrot fly resistance but I would recommend planting your seeds in a raised bed and sowing them thinly to combat the pest further.

If you’ve got restricted space but fancy trying your hand at potatoes then it’s worth planting a couple of seed potatoes in these grow bags. To begin, add a layer of compost on the bottom of the bag, then your seed potatoes and then add another layer of compost on top. Once you see the foliage sprouting, keep adding more compost on top so that gradually the bag fills to the top. The durable material from which the bags are made mean that they’re also reusable so can be used season after season. The in-built drainage holes also prevents the soil from becoming waterlogged too.

Whilst I won’t be growing courgettes this year, now is the time to sow them if you’re going to try your hand at them. I’d recommend the Wilko Jumbo Grow Kit for starting them off before growing them in their final position.

Lastly I’ll be trying my hand at chicory and iceberg lettuce this year – both where I intend them to grow for the long term. I’ll be posting my progress on my Instagram account if you’re interested…

Blooms

Admittedly tulips are drawing to the end of their season now, as are primroses and grape hyacinths but as they fade the joys of wisteria, roses, viburnum and clematis all take centre stage which makes me very happy indeed.

This year I’ve decided to focus on a mostly all-white colour scheme for the flower beds, some of which I’ll be cutting for use in floral arrangements for the house too. I’ve already sown Cosmos Bipinnatus ‘Purity’ and Cosmos Bipinnatus ‘Psyche White’ as well as white snapdragons and Ammi Majus into these pots and they’re coming on a treat. As the pots are made from 100% fibre, they can be planted straight into the ground once the seedlings are ready to go outside. This means you’re much likely to produce stronger plants as you won’t be disturbing their roots when pulling them up for repotting.

I love the idea of mixing culinary herbs with beautiful flowers in terracotta pots and positioning them in clusters around the back door. You can’t beat plain terracotta for good value and a classic look plus I love the weathered appearance that they take on after a few seasons outside.

Try marigolds and salad leaves for pops of colour or purple sage and violas for a more classic look. Remember smaller pots will dry out more quickly so water them daily.

If you’re a regular outdoor entertainer, in that you love having family and friends around for garden dinners, consider adding some florals to your patio table. Smaller terracotta pots filled with colourful bedding plants is a budget friendly way of adding some beauty to your outside space. Place small pots in informal groupings on outdoor tables for instant charm but don’t forget to move them to more sheltered spots in inclement weather.

And that brings today’s post to a close. Are any of you trying your horticultural hand at something new this summer? What pieces of your gardening kit can’t you live without. We’d love to hear all about them.

The products in this post were supplied by Wilko but all opinions are my own.

{Contributors}

Images by Adam Crohill

Author
Author: Lolly
Lolly is a self-professed frustrated florist and styling maven with an endless passion for all things pretty.
Follow Lolly on instagram @graceandgable

13 thoughts on “Prepping The Garden For Summer {With Wilko}

  1. Hurrah for the garden! Even though the barn garden is currently a construction site mud pit I’ve been indulging in fantasy plant shopping on J Parkers… white hydrangea and snow in summer, coral peonies and ground cover roses.

    We turned our neglected guilt inducing veg patch into the chicken area- best decision ever as we always worked hard put lots in and then steadily neglected them all summer…

    And on tools- my favourite garden tool is the lethal looking hand pick. I got into them working in archaeology but they are amazing for weeding, small digging and tidying up. A big old pick axe is also great for turning soil- much more fun than a spade and a full body work out, although probably not for the uninitiated..

    Can we see more of the garden soon Lolly please- these close up shots are a tease 😜

    1. Love white hydrangea Lucy – I’ve planted several in our front bed at the house last year so I’m hoping that they will perform admirably for me this year. How have you found having chickens? We’re toying with Indian Runner Ducks but so many people have said that they are very messy…good for slug control though.

      As for the garden, these images were shot at the lovely Iscoyd Park so I can’t pretend that any of these shots are at my house….wish they were though. Garden pictures are likely to be next year’s blogs…

      1. I love our “girls.” They are lots of fun, very easy to take care of and there’s a deep satisfaction in seeing them recover from their Farm days- even free range birds can be kept indoors as long as there’s a certain amount of space per chicken. Our previous chooks had free run of the garden but these have a 5x7m run which is much better. No surprise gifts on the patio!

  2. Another fantasy plant shopper here as we’re also mid-construction. It’s going to be June/July before we can get proper access again so I think our options are going to be limited, and will mostly involve getting things tidy and neat enough to get the little one playing out there safely.

    Long term I’d love to get some more going on outside. I’m thinking hydrangea, some kind of climber (probably a clematis or two). And hopefully my current bulbs will survive into next year, and I’ll be able to get some more in come the autumn.

    1. Same here Rebecca although I’ll confess to buying a whole heap of plants now which are sat waiting to be planted up…What kind of clematis are you after? A late flowering one or a variety that tends to bloom around now? And definitely get some bulbs in the ground in Autumn although I’d tend to wait till around December before planting any tulips. What bulbs will you be going for?

  3. I’ve planted some flowers out in my garden but I didn’t prepare the soil very well so I do think they will do anything. I might dig some compost through it and scatter some wild flower seed and see what happens.
    Our allotment has had a bit of TLC, a couple of the beds have been dug over, the strawberries tidied up and the fruit bushes cut down for new growth. We have also decided not to go wild on the veggies this year – last year I was bringing large bags of courgettes into work every week, we just couldn’t keep up with them.
    We’ve got tomatoes and chillies in the greenhouse, onions and potatoes out in the beds and after a successful run of sweetcorn last year, this year I’m trying baby corn. My son loves carrots so I might sow a couple of rows this weekend and see how they get on.
    Its such hard work at times (especially keeping on top of the weeds!!), but I just love spending a couple of hours pottering about the garden or allotment. And nothing tastes as good as a strawberry straight off the plant in the summer sun

    1. Claire have you considered mulching instead. At least this way the nutrients will filter down and enrich the soil. Mulches are best applied from mid- to late spring and autumn, when the soil is moist and warm so now is the time to do it if you wanted to. I’ve ordered from Compost Direct before and would recommend them. Definitely try the carrots – I got Hector to pull them out of the ground last year and watching his face it was as if I’d performed some special kind of magic which I suppose it is really. And re the strawberries? I absolutely agree!

  4. Funnily enough I picked up some compost, chantenay carrots, beetroot and broad beans from Wilko yesterday! Today, E and I will be painting up an old metal toy chest and creating a veggie planter this afternoon 💚

    I’ll report back later X

    1. Sounds amazing Karen! Can you share your progress on Instastories so we can follow along?

  5. Love the update! Do you know about companion planting? I believe carrots and tomatoes should be planted together to help ward off pests (although that may need checking!), but there are so many great combinations that all help prevent bugs from taking hold of garden produce.

    I have just received a couple of clematis to plant up, and I bought a hardy orchid a few weeks ago at an RHS plant fair (shamefully still in its pot but I’ll try to get it in the ground this weekend). The sweet peas are in the ground, the raspberries are growing like mad and the rhubarb is being picked! Definitely recommend raspberries and rhubarb for easy and satisfying produce, very little that needs to be done (or that I do anyway) and they yield tremendous amounts. More garden updates please!!

    1. Ahhh thanks so much Annie – we have lots more garden updates planned for later in the year so stay tuned. And yes I’m a big fan of companion planting. I planted basil and tomatoes together last year as well as a couple of pots of chives to boot. Borage flourishes as well in the garden and I let it self seed to keep the pests away as well. What clematis did you go for? I have Clematis Winter Beauty and Clematis Sieboldii on back order and I’m so excited to get my hands on them! My sweet peas are at pinching out stage – I’ll do that this weekend and then plant them and I’m waiting until we’ve properly moved in and I’ll get some raspberries on the go!

      1. We went for Clematis Armandii “Apple Blossom” and Clematis “Broughton Star” to help cover the wall for a longer period when little else is out in the garden. My poor sweet peas need some serious tying in, poor things have had very little attention over the past couple of weeks!

        1. Oooh I have the apple blossom Clematis – it’s beautiful but my blooms didn’t last very long this year. That said the foliage is really lovely too!

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