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Homes & gardens Muck & magic


Lockdown needn’t mean lacklustre. Caroline Wigram reveals how good compost and a sprinkling of neighbourly know-how are key to making your garden blossom this summer


L STEP 1


I dug out the compost bins — a nasty but unavoidable job. If you haven’t got one, this should be your fi rst purchase. Check out the Bokashi system or follow Bob Flowerdew’s advice (GQT on Radio 4). Without good


compost, you’ll never get happy plants.


ROSES/GETTY CLEMATIS/GETTY


STEP 2 New-found gardening friends in my neighbourhood


ockdown has certainly had its challenges. Restaurants, cinemas, pubs — all these I


miss — but when I learned that garden centres would be closed, I was devastated. T e timing couldn’t have been worse; spring had sprung and my list of essentials — compost, seeds, bedding plants, pots, plant feed — went on and on. A change of attitude was called for, as well as some creative thinking...


Whatsapp group were in a similar predicament, so we organised swaps. In return for pots and tools, I received some fabulous annuals and — my pride and joy — a baby cucumber. Your green- fi ngered neighbours will not only be a mine of information, they’ll likely also have spare seeds, cuttings and so on.


STEP 3 Water has been a major lockdown issue. Install as many butts as you have space for and recycle your greywater — YouTube has loads of useful tutorials. Given that a drought is likely, the eff ort will defi nitely be worthwhile.


STEP 4 Now garden centres are open again, you could really go mad, but before you do, consider the following points: What’s your soil like? Where are the sunny/shady spots? How much time/space do you have? Read plant labels carefully, and don’t be seduced into buying that gorgeous, prohibitively huge rhododendron.


11 JULY 2020 • SATURDAY DAILY MAIL


TOP PICKS If you’re a novice, start small.


A selection of well-chosen plants are enough, and these are both easy and rewarding:


ROSES If you lack space, a few miniature varieties in pots will look and smell delightful, and with regular deadheading, watering and feeding, they’ll fl ower for months. And the range of beautiful colours is vast.


GERANIUMS You can treat geraniums like roses, and are great in pots too. If you shelter them over winter, or use horticultural fl eece, they should survive the dark months.


CLEMATIS My favourite climber works well in small and large gardens, providing height and depth. There’s a huge variety, both evergreen and deciduous, and innumerable colours and habits.


HERBS AND VEGGIES No garden is complete without edibles. Herbs are easy and decorative, and home-grown cherry tomatoes are the best. I’d choose Sungold, which are yummy and fruit well into autumn.


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