In his regular column for French News Online "Lifestyle"
Section, professional gardener Mike Alexander, waxes lyrical as
he contemplates his July garden.
With all the rain we have been having I seem to have spent
a lot of time recently wading through calf high grass behind an
overworked mower and ducking for cover every time it showers.
One of my clients has a particularly large lawn and one portion
of it is steeply sloped so cutting the grass there is a real sweat
and rather risky. Some years ago after a minor injury I was unable
to get on with the task when spring arrived, so I left that part
to it's own devices. The result was quite startling. In no time
at all the unmown lawn was covered in cow parsley and wild flowers
and looked wonderful.
After I had come to terms with how effortlessly nature could out-perform
my ow creative abilities I took to leaving that part uncut until
summer every year and the natural wild flowers have never failed
to produce stunning results and with minimal maintenance other
than to throw in an occasional handful of poppy seeds. Towards
the beginning of summer I simply strim it all down and drop into
my regular mowing routine, having saved myself considerable effort
and benefited from a wonderful display of nature's best and no
doubt encouraging some additional bio-diversity as well.
You Could Just
Throw in a Handful of Poppy Seeds
One genus of plant that is looking superb at the moment is the
Hosta. These have really appreciated the regular deluges we've
been having this year and are lush with beautiful foliage. As
any gardener knows they are the meal of choice for slugs and snails
which can if allowed to, shred them into a tattered mess overnight.
However we can take precautions. I grow many of mine in pots that
are easily protected from predators and can be stored in a nursery
area when they start looking tatty toward the end of summer. Plants
that I do put in beds I mulch very thoroughly with coir or coconut
husk mulch which our slimey enemies find difficult to cross. If
I have no other choice I will use slug pellets that contain iron
phosphate and are less damaging to the environment than those
Protect From Slugs
- mulch very thoroughly with coir or coconut husk -
Hostas are hardy herbacious perenials that are shade tolerant
and need a deep rich soil with plenty of moisture. Most were introduced
from Japan in the mid nineteenth century but large scale breeding,
particularly in America, has produced thousands of varieties nearly
all of which are grown predominantly for their foliage. Those
with gold leaves are more tolerant of sun but I find that almost
all cultivars will accept dappled shade well. In the spring they
can be easily lifted and divided with a pair of garden forks while
those left in the ground will take four to eight years to mature
to their full glory. To protect them over winter I simply bury
them beneath a few inches of leaf mould. Just remember to guard
them from those snails!!