It is possible to go on holiday and not come home to a wasteland. Follow these simple tips to ensure your garden survives the holidays.
Mulch it up
While you’re basking in its rays, the very same sun will be sapping all the moisture out of your soil, leaving your borders thirsty. If you don’t have an irrigation system, aerate the soil with a fork and give it a good soaking. Then cover with a generous helping of mulch such as Culterra, which will help retain the water, as it breaks down and feeds the soil.
Top tip: If you have potted roses, pinch out the new buds before you go away. The new growth saps the most water.
Move indoor plants
Before you go on holiday, move indoor plants out of direct sunlight and into a cooler spot and pinch off any old leaves or flowers. Water spikes generally hold enough water to keep house plants happy and well hydrated for a week at a time. And they don’t have to be ugly, you’ll find a selection of pretty glass globes or colourful acrylic designs on the shelves. If you’re going to be away for longer than a week, ask a neighbor or friend to come in and top up your water spikes.
Mow your lawn
If you live in a summer rainfall area, you’re just going to have to accept the fact that your grass is going to be a little long when you get home. If you’re living in a winter rainfall area, hopefully you have hardy indigenous lawn that can weather the dry summers. Don’t be tempted to give it an extra-short haircut which would expose more soil than necessary and risk the grass getting sun damage. Try doing your last mow without the cuttings box – the cuttings will act as a mulch to protect the lawn and retain moisture. When you’re back from holiday, resist the urge to hack the grass back to size in one go – it’s better to do two or three small cuts than one big one.
Set the clock
A digital or manual timer attached to your irrigation system will keep lawn looking luscious and borders blooming while you’re away. If you have a large garden, a multi-zone water distributor allows you to set a sequence to water up to six areas.
Dig in perlite
Often large patio pots are too heavy to move out of the summer sun. If you’re worried they will dry out too quickly, a product containing perlite can work wonders. These foam particles are designed to swell and retain moisture much in the same way as mulch. The best thing to do is to dig them into the potting soil – preferably when you pot the plant. But if plants are already established, dig the perlite into the soil, being careful as always not to disturb the root too much.
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