Hints & Tips
OK. So there it is. It’s that time of year. The time of self-sacrifice, altruism and empathy. We all have to do difficult things, bite the bullet, face the music and this is the time. Yes. I’m going on holiday with Mrs Drew. It’s a tough cud but someone has to chew it. To be honest, the woman is marvelous, works very hard and has to put up with a great deal so she is desperate to get away and, for the 25th year running, she isn’t trying to get away from me but with me. I should be grateful. I am truly blessed. However, I’ve already thrown the usual “I don’t want to go” tantrum” already. It’s not unusual, it’s not weird, it’s not out of the ordinary but every year I get to the point where the thought of drifting off to foreign climes (usually France), to enjoy fabulous food, wonderful wine, empty roads and far better run train services for a couple of weeks, fills me with dread. Only because it can mean returning to a jungle of a lawn, with plants wilting like Jane Austen heroines after a particularly taxing picnic, in bone dry, last gasp soil and tomatoes withering on the vine, dying like Jim Davidson at a Greenham Common Reunion gig… or anywhere for that matter.
So. What’s to do? Well, first up I’m only going for a week. That helps. Second. I have a cunning plan for watering my lawn and my plants and some well laid plans for dealing with other issues, because I’ll tell you now… pests don’t go on holiday (apart from the drunk ones who always sit behind me on airplanes that is).
So what will I do? Here is my five point plan for looking after the garden while you are away
- So. Simplest first. I’ve enlisted my good friend and neighbour Bungalow Ben to water my lawn if it gets really parched and there is no rain. He can be a pain but he’s there when you need him, and it’ll give him a good excuse to nose around my garden which he is always up for.
- I’m going to be doing the old trick of sticking bottles of water upside down in my pot plants (right at the edge of the pot, sunk neck deep) with holes in their caps for slow release watering.
I have quite a few bottles knocking about (you can draw your own conclusions from that ) but I am going to make sure they are all emptied first, I mean a litre of Filbert’s Fuddled Fine Ale is wasted on a potted geranium so I might as well drink it.
- Pot plants will also be moved into light shade, grouped together so they can share humidity.
- House plants – same job with the empty bottles in the pots (I must cut down) and place them on damp toweling or newspaper before we go.
- I will also give my plants a good soak the day before we go. Right into the ground around the roots to make sure they can spread and grow.
- I’ll be staking any tall plants and checking them all, tying up any that need it so if we get any more of these wild and woolly, Wuthering Heights type winds we’ve been experiencing, I won’t be coming back to a bunch of broken stems and pain.
- Have a general tidy up of dead or dying flora, anything remotely close to rotting and deadhead anything that needs it. This should reduce the ingress of pests.
- I’ll mow my lawn (not too low, don’t want it scalped) and use my mulching setting so I am leaving clipping sand therefore moisture on the lawn before I go.
- Open all the ventilation flaps in the greenhouse and soak the soil in there thoroughly.
- I will make sure I check all my nets and that they are secure and will use my particular slug removing method – I’ll let you use your own, method and it’s up to you – I don’t want to get into an argument about slug pellets!
And that is pretty much it. If you have any tips… why not let me know, pop them onto our facebook page. Apart from that, see you on the 13th August and enjoy your holiday…er…garden. Drew Hardy
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