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Holiday garden care

Holiday garden care

Holiday garden care
You can be more relaxed about leaving a well established garden while you go on holiday than one recently established.  Or one that has a lot of pots or baskets.

So what can you do to keep your garden living while you go away?

A well-established garden- over three years old – should be able to hold its own. Even in a mid- to high twenties summer week. It may even deal with two weeks. If plants have not established for at least two years they will likely feel the strain of an extended period sans water.

In theory the easy solution is to get someone in- a relative or neighbour – to take care of it for you. But what if you are a very particular gardener, and your friends don’t share the same passion – and ultimately care – that you do?

Then you need your local garden service to come it for you. As long as they are not just grass or hedge cutters and have some horticultural experience, they will know how to provide holiday garden care.

They water yours, you water theirs

An agreement between near neighbours could work well. I am very lucky, in that I have friends that are interested and knowledgeable gardeners. I can trust them.

But I still want to make it relatively simple for them too. You can’t expect someone to spend the same time that you would walking around the plot with a watering can.

I group my vulnerable pots and baskets together, so that there are fewer places to go with hose or can. Grouping pots closer together also maintains a more humid atmosphere for longer.

It’s also much easier to give the pots the required soaking when they are closer together. Remember that it’s better to give one or two good soakings a week than a little every day. 

I hang baskets in towers of two or three, so the water from the top one cascades down to the next ones, saving time and water.

But perhaps with the exception of certain key beds or plantings, it’s not reasonable to have someone chasing around all of your garden unless you’re prepared to pay for holiday garden care. But they do need to have an idea of how much water to use.

From the ground up can take care of your garden while you away. The service is available in the Bourne End – Marlow – Wooburn Green areas.

The upside of a dry week

A dry week or two will show you where plants are vulnerable. Therefore you’ll know where to direct your attention as far as improving the water retention in the soil. You can do this by mulching, or even re-digging the bed with more compost.

Some plants that are suffering in the heat may just be slow to stablish. I have two Astrantias that have taken ages to get going in a west facing bed.

Holiday garden care
Even plants that thrive in well drained or dry conditions like Sedum can suffer.

The two beds that I had dug last October – in the hope of winter frosts breaking down the clay – have many distressed plants.

Tender perennials like Dahlias seem to be OK. And the Lillies and Cannas. But Penstemons planted in spring have suffered, along with Achillea and Buxus.

But the bed planted with a Mediterranean or drought resistant theme has managed well in its first year.

A large top dressing of compost will be applied to these beds this weekend. I will slowly be returning pots and baskets to their places.

Dry weather planning

Consider getting a contingency to the hosepipe too. An extended dry period may result in a hosepipe ban.

Fixed installed irrigation is exempt. Drip and micro irrigation systems, and leaky pipes laid throughout the beds can still be used. You can also have these automated, so they will take care of the garden when you are away.

But back it up with  rainwater collection systems such as water butts. I say “butts”, as one will not last long if there is no rain for a few weeks.

Storing more water will make keeping your garden alive more cost effective.

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