There are lots of things you need to remember before going on holiday, from your passport to your flip-flops, but one thing many people forget to do before jetting off is prepping their garden.
Two weeks is a long time for the plants and shrubs in your garden, and many can wither or even die if not given the right preparation before you leave.
Never fear though - if you don’t have a neighbour who’s willing to cultivate your garden during your trip, Gardeners’ World is on hand with some expert advice on what to do to ensure you return to blooming flowers and a lush lawn – taking an extra bit of worry out of your holiday.
A couple of days before you leave, weed borders, deadhead flowering plants, mow and edge the lawn and top up the pond. Just before you go, water containers, fruiting crops and anything newly planted. Pots are most likely to suffer in hot weather and an irrigation system is ideal, but if you don’t have one, follow our tips below.
Protect the pots
Smaller pots can be sunk into the ground in a border or raised bed – as the compost dries out, it will take up moisture from the soil. If you can, ask friends and neighbours to pick and water plants and crops, in exchange for harvesting produce or flowers, or the promise that you’ll do the same for them when it’s their turn to go on holiday.
Deadhead flowering plants
Deadhead flowering plants before you go, but also remove flowers that are fully open. This will stop plants running to seed, and means that existing buds will be blooming when you return
Mow the lawn
Cut the lawn just before you leave to encourage good growth and keep weeds down. Don’t cut it too short as it will be susceptible to drought. If the weather is forecast to be hot, set the blades high.
Eat or store crops
Pick and then freeze or eat any crops you can before you travel. Harvest courgettes, even if they’re tiny, to avoid finding marrows on your return. Also harvest peas and beans to keep crops coming. Here's our advice on how to preserve your harvests.
Water potted plants
Water pots well. Put saucers beneath them to collect water and increase humidity. Move them to a shady spot where they will dry out less quickly. If you can’t move them, cover with shade netting or fleece. Take a look at our guide to summer watering for more tips.
Gardeners’ World offers a wide range of advice to gardeners of all abilities with gardens of all sizes. More information and tips are available on its website.