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Muddy gardens

Sun’s out. The garden is calling. But what to do first? Luckily I know just the guy to ask. Andy Mills, head gardener at Painshill, the 18th-century landscape garden in Cobham, gives us these tips for those with green fingers. Happy gardening!


Trim Box hedges after Derby Day (4 June) preferably on a dull day.


Get planting Plant out tender perennials such as dahlias (above) and pelargoniums now that the danger of frost has passed. Annual summer bedding plants can be planted out now too.


Deadhead and cutting back Cut back bulb foliage as soon as it has died down naturally, and deadhead hellebores ruthlessly so as not to dilute the clumps with unintentional seedlings. Cut back pulmonarias (lungwort) hard once they have finished flowering to encourage fresh new foliage. And as soon as your sweet peas start to flower, keep picking them to encourage more blooms. Towards the end of June, if your hardy geraniums (above) have finished flowering cut them back to encourage new foliage and flowers.


Stake tall or floppy perennial plants to prevent wind damage, and make sure you keep newly planted trees and shrubs well-watered while they establish. Check plants regularly for any pests or disease lurking in among the new growth.


The vegie plot Plant out tender vegetables such as courgettes, squash, tomatoes and sweet corn now the risk of frost has passed. You can also sow outdoor salad crops directly into vegetable beds or pots. Continue to earth up potato plants as they grow. If you’re growing potatoes in bags simply add more compost to half way up the plant stem.


In the pond Add barley straw or barley straw extract to ponds to inhibit the growth of blanket weed.

Painshill, Portsmouth Rd, Cobham KT11 1JE. Tel: 01932 868113.


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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Surrey