As the summer holiday approaches, many of us will be thinking of setting off on vacation
You may think what does this mean for your plants – well, good news! You don't need to worry about all your hard work in the garden going to waste. That's why we've spoken to the experts at The Greenhouse People who are on hand with their tips for making sure your outdoor area survives the holiday...
As a nation, we're pretty obsessed with houseplants - where could be a better place to start? Make sure you move any houseplants away from any sunny windowsills to ensure they remain hydrated. For the next stage, place them in a bathtub or a shower that's lined with a plastic sheet, along with several layers of newspaper. Then, run the water until the newspaper is sodden and pull the shower curtain across - this helps you retain moisture.
2. Tidy up
Make sure you're prepared. As your holiday approaches, you need to sort out your garden. This means weeding - it may be the last thing you want to do but give your plants all the help they can, particularly if no rain is forecast. It’s also worth deadheading your plants as they fade out of bloom, as this helps them concentrate on growing.
The British weather is an unpredictable beast, and as a result, it's hard to tell what it will do on a day-to-day basis. Look at the weather forecast - if it isn't due to rain, you don't have to worry.
Drench your plants with as much water as needed, and add some mulch in advance too - it helps you retain water and keep weeds at bay. There are also some innovative techniques for remote watering too - however, there's an even better technique to try; ask a friend or neighbour to help!
4. Smart mowing
Two tasks done for the price of one? Yes please! Mow the lawn, and then use the clippings as mulch - lightly trimming the lawn will ensure it remains healthy while you're away, helping to it to get some essential nutrients and hydration back too. Alternatively, why not pile the clippings on your flower beds? This ensures your soil gets some light shade.
5. Edible watch
Do you grow your own fruit and veg? Well, climbing and sprawling plants will benefit from this support and will shoot up. Plan ahead while you're on holiday by placing supports around the plants that are most likely to need this - for instance, tomatoes, runner beans and raspberries.
Lastly, if you have any ripe crops, harvest them! Tomatoes and strawberries continue to ripen after being picked, so simply pop them in the fridge for when you return.
6. Pot protection
If you put plants in pots, they're most likely to be vulnerable to drying out - and also blowing over if it's windy. Get around this by grouping them together in a shady place, be it against a wall or fence to offer stability, before giving it a thorough watering. This also ensures you create a humid microclimate.
You can also create your own watering device - simply rinse and fill a wine bottle with some water, push in the cork and make a hole through the entire length of the cork. Then, insert the wine bottle upside down and it will stay hydrated for as many as three days. It's worth trying this out before going away though - that way you can see if more water is needed.