It may seem like Christmas is a lifetime away but with just under 3 months to go time spent well in the garden now will ensure the garden is looking its best for the big day. Three months of well-planned maintenance to your hedges, lawns and garden beds will give you growth in Spring that can create a beneficial effect in the garden that is felt forever moving forwards.
Often our hedges are overlooked, simply cutting them back to the previous shape and not taking the time to get them looking and performing to their best. The optimum shape for a hedge is slightly narrower at the top than the bottom. This angled cut ensures light is distributed evenly over the side faces of the hedge giving a dense full appearance. More often than not it is reversed, and the bottom is narrower than the top which in turn will eventually shade out the bottom of the hedge line. To get this shape back don’t be scared to give your hedge a severe haircut, getting on top of your hedges now will mean they have a chance to recover from a harsh cut and be green again come Christmas day.
When hedging I also run a string line across the top edge of the hedge to make sure they are nice and straight. They don’t have to be flat as that depends on your topography but you are trying to achieve a straight line and not a wavey one. Place your string an even one inch below where you are cutting so you don’t cut the line during the process.
After a severe hair cut it’s a good idea to give you hedges a dose of fertiliser, a good soak with a soaker hose and apply a soil wetter as well as some mulch. This combination will give your plants all they need to power on through the warmer months and bounce back, giving you that formal European estate look to your hedges.
After your hedges are taken care of your lawn will need some treatment. If you haven’t given it an aerate and fertiliser don’t wait any longer, get out today and give it some love. You should also start mowing your lawn on a more regular basis however raise the height of the mower blades by one rung. This will protect the roots and stolons of the grass as it gets hotter. As you mow on a more regular basis (once a week is perfect) you are forcing the grass to grow outwards rather than up and this gives the appearance of a denser lusher lawn.
Look at your remaining garden beds and take note if there are any gaps that need filling. A full garden bed looks more textural and layered and therefore is much nicer to look at. For spaces in the back of the garden bed fill them with shrubs to add some bulk and for spaces in the front try planting some annuals that will continue to flower all the way up to Christmas. Petunias are great as they grow quickly and provide constant colour, when growing an annual like this you need to constantly take off the old flowers to promote new ones coming through, this will also keep the low growing plants dense and full looking.
To finish off your get ready for Christmas makeover it’s a good idea to ensure your mulch is topped up to 75mm depth. This is optimum for plant health and doing it now means the bright colour of fresh mulch has had time to settle down and won’t be the main feature of your top notch Christmas garden.