Well, you can imagine my delight when I was asked to write this column, not only do I get the chance to impart my knowledge to a much wider audience but also perhaps a chance to make a real difference to the gardening community in this area.
So I would like to begin by introducing myself, I am Geoff Moss and I have been involved in gardening for over 20 years. I have also run a business in the gardening trade for over 13 years of which the latest variation of my company Garden Visions has been running for the past four years. This is because throughout my business life I have run and evolved my company through all areas of the gardening trade including garden maintenance, landscaping, general gardening and border work; so my business name has changed along with these variations. My company now is a project managing company covering the entire gardening and landscaping industry but specialising in planting and border work along with garden management.
It is this variation of skills and knowledge that I would like to weave into this column bringing some interesting facts and ideas, top tips and a concept I have developed recently which will encompass how to look after and progress the garden at the same time.
So the concept I would like to introduce is ‘Garden Management’ which is an idea I had to bring together all my knowledge and skills from the different areas of the gardening trade, the name of which came from the original name for my company ‘Garden and Landscape Management’ however the concept has developed far beyond the name so to find out more read on….
Now let’s cut to the chase and look at what to do to start managing the garden at this time of year. I will only be introducing the simpler stages of garden management so the concept will become clearer as we work through the tasks and the year. There will be further opportunity in the future to explore the concept in more depth.
The first task I want you to do is go out into your garden and have a look round (Yes, you can take the magazine with you while you do it if you wish), look all over the garden, round every corner, into every gap, up to every boundary; really get to know your garden. Now, it’s best to use a pad and pen for this next stage until you get the feel for this process, as we will be repeating it throughout the year, start making a note of as much information as you can – what is looking good, what doesn’t look good, what needs repairing, where is the colour in the garden, what features or fixtures make up the garden (e.g. lawn, patio, shrub border, rockery etc), what is overgrown, what is in good shape. These are a few examples of what you can make a note of but there is much more depending on your garden.
Once you have created your list or notes it is best to put them in an order or set of groups, one that suits you but you must be able to refer back and add to it at a later date. You will now have an idea of what is happening in your garden in the summer months (yes I know we don’t get much of a summer but it is still classed as summer time). There may not be much at all going on or there
could be lots of things happening, at least you have a starting point. Next make an additional list of what needs sorting out in the different parts or features of the garden – this could be pruning, weeding, crowded plants, no colour, repairs to paths, walls etc., lawn shape, murky pond or many other issues that could that could be making your garden less enjoyable. These lists do not have to be exhaustive at the moment as there will be more to add throughout the year just as long as there is enough to work on for now. The next stage is to start ordering these tasks into times of year they can be done. If you are an experienced gardener you may be able to do this. However, if you are not sure or you are a novice gardener then do not worry. For those of you who are not sure what can be done when, for any reason, I will be looking at appropriate tasks for the time of year in each edition of the magazine. For this edition check the list below for the type of jobs that can be done. Once you have an idea of what can be done at this time you can choose jobs according to the time you have available and leave the other tasks for another time.
Tasks to do June/July:
- Trimming and shaping plants.
- Cutting back overhanging plants.
- Construction work of hard landscaping (paths, walls, patios etc.)
- Shaping of lawn edges or borders.
With all this in mind let’s have a look at a couple of top tips for these months:
- Cut a sharp edge on the lawn and flick the soil away to create a ‘V’ shape at the edge of the lawn; this will define the edge better, make it easier to cut and improve drainage of the grass.
- Keep an eye on watering to make sure it is consistent particularly with vegetables and containers if the weather is changeable.
- Keep up with all the seasonal tasks e.g. staking, weeding and tidying – it’s important not to let things get out of hand.
Now that I have filled your heads with technical tasks let’s look at something a bit easier – getting out and about to expand our ideas and knowledge – a much more relaxing task but still just as
important as we can pick up new ideas or ways of gardening just by looking round other gardens (yes even I pick up new knowledge this way) so each edition I am going to recommend a different type of place to find inspiration or enlightenment and where better to start but the stately homes of Britain with gardens open to the public. These gardens are steeped in historic knowledge and techniques by gardeners and designers of times gone by so they are a wealth of information, ideas and methods for us gardeners of today. I have a number of photos and even more inspiration from these types of garden so why not get out on a day out and pick up your own slice of new knowledge.
After all this bantering about knowledge and techniques I would like a bit of feedback from you – the reader – for each edition so we can make the column more interactive. Please send me messages of how you have found the ideas in the column or even your successes and possibilities from the advice in the column via my website ‘contact us’ button. I regret I may not be able to answer or publish all the messages but I will respond to the most salient ones.