The longer days of summer are great news for keen gardeners, and our five quick plant tips will help you to get your garden ready for summer so you can enjoy those precious hours of sunlight.
With just a few minutes spent in your garden over the course of a week, you can do these five quick tasks and it will already start to look much tidier and ready for some outdoor entertaining or an impromptu barbecue on the next sunny day.
1. Evergreen shrubs
Evergreen plants like ornamental trees and topiary balls might be in need of a trim, and you can save yourself some time by taking the 'little and often' approach.
Instead of bringing out the electric hedge trimmer every time, if your topiary balls are starting to look unkempt, just snip off the stray twigs and leaves with a sturdy pair of secateurs.
For ornamental trees you might need something a little larger, but again a good pair of hedge shears should be able to get them back in shape in a matter of minutes, at least until you find the time to give them a full trim with an electric trimmer.
2. Herbaceous plants
By now, herbaceous perennials should be coming into their own, so if you have any gaps where herbaceous plants did not grow back after the winter, it can be worth taking the time to fill those in for a more 'complete' look to your borders.
Plants like rudbeckia fulgida thrive in a wide range of soil types, aspects and exposures, and should produce flowers that provide a splash of colour throughout the summer and into autumn, making them a great low-maintenance option.
If you have spaces to fill, head down to your nearest garden centre and look for slightly more mature herbaceous plants that will instantly flesh out your beds and borders. Here at Bents we've got a great choice in our Plant Area and Open Skies Glass House, with strong specimens grown on our on-site nurseries.
3. Garden roses
Avoid heavy pruning of garden roses during the summer months, but consider some light summer pruning if you want to prolong their flowering season.
You only really need to remove the roses that have already died off, cut back any dead wood, and keep the rose bush in shape, and you should benefit from a few more blooms later in the year.
4. Dwarf rhododendrons
If you have dwarf rhododendrons, make sure they get enough water on a regular basis through the hottest part of the season.
Deadheading will again help to promote future growth and will divert the plant's energy into its vegetation rather than going to seed - just be careful not to damage next year's buds that are already forming just below the current flowerheads.
5. Potted plants
Potted plants for patios and terraces are a great way to introduce some flowers that will bloom later in the year, without disturbing your beds and borders that are already coming into their own.
Good candidates include Sedum Autumn Joy and Sedum Picolette, which should do well in pots and offer interesting colours in their leaves alone, even before they bloom in August-September.