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How to sort out your garden for summer

Green-fingered blogger Annabel Harris is getting to grips with her garden

Having a garden is a wonderful luxury, especially at this time of year when the sun’s out and all anyone wants to do is relax outdoors. That’s why I feel bad for taking my own small back garden for granted: every year I promise to make more effort, but before I know it barbecue season is here and I haven’t uprooted a single weed! This summer, I’ve been following an action plan to keep it in trim…

Sort out your garden: foxgloves and other tall plants in a planted border1. Make a list – It might sound odd that my first tip doesn’t involve any actual gardening, but I’ve found making a list of my outdoor goals really helps me get on with things. The Sainsbury’s gardening journal is divided into handy sections so you can keep track of what you’ve planted, what you’d like to plant and what you’ve learnt for next time.
2. Cut that grass! There’s a trend in gardening for homegrown ‘meadows’ filled with long grass and wildflowers, but you can’t just let your grass grow and hope for the same idyllic effect! Now the weather is drier, there’s no excuse not to haul out the mower (unfortunately).
3. On bended knee – It’s growing time for weeds as well as flowers, so I know I need to don my Sort out your garden: a trowel, fork and gardening gloves with a wicker hampergardening gloves and grab my trowel and fork. Kneeling on an old blanket makes it more enjoyable, as does a decent playlist on
my iPhone.
4. Total ecosystem – If you’re getting rid of the long grass and weeds, you might also be uprooting insects, which are vital for attracting birds and keeping the lifecycle of your garden ticking over. Create a ‘bug hotel’ filled with nooks and crannies for them to live in with bricks and old straw, and remember that Britain’s struggling bumblebees love flowers: full marks if you’ve already planted lots of beautiful blooms.
Sort out your garden: a bright flower growing in a garden5. Reward yourself! Some people adore gardening for its own sake, others do it for the sense of satisfaction when it’s all finished. If you’re like me, you’ll need another incentive too, so start planning the garden party you can have when it’s all shipshape. At the very least, enjoy a well-earned cup of tea at the end!

What will you be doing in your garden for this summer?

Main image: wicker hamper, £15; enamel twine tin, £5; enamel tray, £8; enamel mugs, £2.50 each; flask, £10; plate and bowl, £2.50 each. Inset image: trowel and fork, £8.50 each; gloves, £8; wicker basket, £15


Tip of the week

Don’t have a garden of your own? Community gardens near you are always looking for volunteers.

Three key pieces

Watering can

JournalBird houseWatering can, £20; gardening journal, £5.99; small bird house, £8