The weather forecast hints at some wet and windy weather in the Thames Valley these coming weeks.
It’s something we all expect from this time of year. But what if – like in 2015 – the bad weather turns up and stays for a while?
With advice on how to create drought-free gardens and outdoor spaces a-plenty, we thought we should cover all bases.
So, in this blog, we’ll provide some guidance on what to do if the coming summer months turn out to take more of a traditional British turn.
Here are five ways of protecting your garden during a prolonged period of wet and windy weather:
1. Plan for run off
Good drainage is essential for the survival of most plants, and many species will perish if their roots are sat in water for any length of time. Avoid planting in an area that might get drenched from excess water pouring off your roof, a sloping surface or from poorly maintained guttering. Water run-off after a downpour has the potential to obliterate your plants.
Applying a layer of mulch around the base of your plants will improve drainage and avoid your plants drowning. And if you have pots in your garden, consider standing them on feet or supports and placing large stones in the base, so that water collecting in the pot will drain out freely.
2. Stake plants well
If you have carefully nurtured plants that need to grow tall and strong, it would be a shame to see them suffer at the first hint of a blustery gale. Lofty plants are susceptible to wind damage, so it’s essential that you stake them well. Billowing stems and branches may snap and cause irreversible damage to your plants if they are left unsupported.
If you grow vegetables such as beans; flowers such as cosmos; or young shrubs and trees; make sure they are supported by canes or circular plant supports. Tie in branches to trellises, arches or pergolas as they grow, rather than leaving it until the windy weather sets in.
3. Put up wind barriers
Fence panels and hedges all have the potential to add interest to your garden – and provide some well received shelter if things do take a turn for the worst.
Yet, you should also consider creating wind barriers within your garden itself –as well as along the parameter.
Whether made from bamboo, trellis or even artificial plants, you can easily create a screen in your garden at a height to suit your needs. These not only look great, but provide protection and support for your flora.
Furthermore, grouping plants together provides then with additional support, making them less prone to damage in strong winds. Or, if you are concerned about a freak weather front ruining your garden display, choose plants that spread out on the ground rather than selecting those designed for vertical growth. Dianthus, phlox, aubrietia, sedum and campanula are all good options for this.
4. Turn compost
Compost requires the right ingredients and conditions to achieve its full potential – and getting the right moisture balance is essential.
Compost piles that are routinely soaked from rainwater will struggle to produce that lovely, crumbly soil you desire when it comes to nourishing your plants. This is because the water will pool on the top of the pile, turning the top layer into a soggy mush.
On the other hand, the mixture underneath this top layer may become too dry and fail to get the adequate oxygen that bacteria need to break down the ingredients.
When the weather gets wet, it’s a good idea to turn your compost so that the moisture is evenly distributed.
5. Plant for damp soil
If you have a part of your garden that is prone to getting wet, rather than leaving it muddy and bare, choose plants that thrive in boggy conditions.
Ferns, snake’s head fritillary and hosta are all examples of plants that are happy to get their feet wet.
However, understand what soil type you have first before deciding which type of plant species to place in damp areas as some are more suited to sandy soils, whilst others prefer clay or silt. Matching certain plants to the conditions they love is the best way to ensure your efforts in the garden are rewarded in those summer months, even if it does turn out to be a rather soggy affair.
Call Thames Valley Landscapes
There’s nothing like the Great British climate for throwing in some meteorological surprises as we work our way through the seasons each year.
However, taking our advice to protect your garden during a wet and windy summer will mean your garden will be the last thing you have to worry about whilst you shelter from the elements.
Give Thames Valley Landscapes a shout if you need a hand. We are here to assist you with the design, build and maintenance of your garden so it will flourish regardless of what the weather has in store. Reach us on 01628 629720.