Summer is an exciting time for gardeners but, following the driest spring in over 100 years, UK Gardeners are facing a difficult time ahead.
According to the Met Office, England and Wales recorded the driest Spring since 1893 and it has meant problems for gardeners. Already this has meant gardeners having to plant seeds quicker and be more selective when deciding what to plant. They also need to consider how plants that will fare well in a hot dry summer will do when the cold eventually returns.
Of the recent dry weather, East Anglia was the worst affected area in the country as it has seen the driest spring for 101 years. And in Kent, gardeners are having to take extra measures to preserve that status.
Best plants for dry weather
- English Lavender
- Trees and shrubs
- Ornamental alliums
Dr Phil Gates, a senior lecturer in botany at Durham University, says “It’s a confusing time for gardeners as a lot of things that can be put in are high risk and may not survive the winter”.
Plants to avoid
- Bedding plants
- Salad crops such as lettuce and rocket
- Busy Lizzies
Plants such as geraniums and petunias are flourishing, as are wild flowers, whereas water-absorbing busy lizzies and salvias have all been given the cut. Gardeners are using hanging baskets with reservoirs to stop water seeping through the bottom as well as water retention tablets.
Dry weather gardening tips
- Scrape back the surface to make sure water goes to the roots
- Re-use house water, collect rain water
- For vegetables, step up watering two weeks before eating
- Water late at night so it’s absorbed before evaporating
- Add a layer of mulch to keep moisture in
- Don’t cut the lawn too short in the summer
- Put soaked newspaper under crops that need lots of water
- Use screens or windbreaks to reduce effects of drying winds
As average temperatures have increased the growing season has extended and when to plant seeds has also changed. If you want your roses to bloom perfectly in June, you really would have had to have planted them in October rather than in March, so that the roots can be established and get a good soaking over the winter months.