John Eke, Head Gardener at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, shares the English passion of creating and maintaining beautiful green spaces for guests to enjoy. Within the hotel’s meticulously tended grounds you’ll find a spectacular water feature, the produce garden which provides fresh fruit, herbs and seasonal vegetables for the kitchen, wide green lawns, and plenty of shaded nooks for lazing around with a cooling drink and a good book on warm Summer days. But all of that doesn’t come without hardwork, experience and dedication. So we’ve got him to share some of his top gardening tips with us, so that this year your garden can grow to be as beautiful as his.
Here are his top 10 quick tips and things to remember to prepare your garden for Spring this year.
- Set slug traps before you notice the slugs.
- Leave toad havens around your garden. (small piles of leaves) Toads eat slugs.
- Use boards to stand on if you are walking on soil or the lawn when it is wet.
- When sowing salad seeds, consider how much you would eat in a week and stagger the sowing accordingly.
- Spring Bulbs. Dead head when flowers are finished but leave leaves until they are showing signs of dying then you can mow them off. This gives your bulbs a better chance of flowering next year.
- Roses will need a gereral fertilizer as they start to grow.
- Try to get your hanging baskets growing before you put them up outside.
- All plants in containers will need a feed once they start to grow. We use a slow-release general purpose feed for everything except acid-loving plants, for which we use a slow-release ericaceous fertilizer.
- Get your lawn mower serviced before you need to use it.
- Remember that plants grow in spite of you, not because of you.
Gardeners are often control freaks. So remember that sometimes you just have to go with the flow!
If you get a chance to visit Summer Lodge keep your eyes out for John’s hidden secrets around the garden too!