I'm trying bring more colour into the garden so I've been looking around for some decent sized plants that will produce flowers this summer.
There's a small plant nursery local to me where the plants are always very healthy and about half of the price elsewhere.
This Iris 'Shirley Pope' was just £3.99 and is already quite established. I decided to put it next to the David Austin rose I bought (in the sale section) a few months back and which has already quadrupled in size.
Tip: take a look in the sales sections in gardening centres for plants that might just need a bit of TLC.
The rose itself has loads of buds on it but I noticed they're all covered in aphids.
I don't like to use a lot of chemicals in the garden so I looked around and bought a plant based bug spray and they've been getting blasted over the past few days.
I'm really looking forward to seeing this rose in flower, it's a new addition to the garden and I love old-fashioned roses with a strong fragrance.
Tip: follow these instructions on how to make your own organic aphid repellent.
The tree that gives most of the dappled shade, which is always very welcome in a south-facing garden, is looking very top heavy.
I think it's definitely a job for a tree surgeon, but in the meantime I took some of the very low overhanging branches off.
They were so low they were actually touching some of the flowers in the beds, so I used my loppers to cut off a few at the very bottom.
Tip: buy the best quality tools you can afford, they make jobs like this so much easier.
I love this curved border, and it also has the most colour, but it tends to get a bit overcrowded in the summer.
I decided to thin out some of the acquilegia, which are beautiful but grow like weeds, to make way for something new.
The pink arrow in the photo below points to the new addition to the border, Echinacea purpurea Praire Splendour, which hopefully will be the same colour as the arrow. The Echinacea was bought from the same local nursery for the same price, £3.99.
Tip: order starter plants earlier in the year to keep the cost even lower.
I've got quite a good selection of garden tools and most of them were my Dad's. I love using his old weathered spade, and it feels good to be using the tools he used to tend our family garden. It feels right to be carrying on his love of gardening.
Fortunately for me, Dad bought good quality garden tools and looked after them which means they're still in great condition. I still keep them clean and wipe blades over with a multi-purpose oil after each use. Tip: looking after your garden tools will keep them in good order and prolong their life.
So although I'm pretty well supplied with garden tools, I was very excited when I was contacted by Plant Me Now the UK's fastest growing online garden centre. They very kindly offered to supply one lucky person with £100 worth of gardening equipment as a competition prize.
I was asked to select a gardening kit and here's what I picked out: a good quality stainless steel garden fork and garden spade; a stainless steel hand trowel and hand fork; some essential bypass secateurs; garden shears, and a pair of gardening gloves. These are the things I use most of all in my garden, so I reckoned it would make a decent kit for someone!
All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to leave a comment below with your best summer gardening tip. It could be about any aspect of gardening, so get thinking and let me know what yours is.
Don't forget to leave either your twitter or email address so I can easily contact you if you win!
The competition is open for entries until 8pm on Monday 24th June 2013. Good luck!
**Update: the competition has now closed and the winner is Hooperpadmore with the following tip:
You can follow Plant Me Now on Twitter, and they have a Facebook page which is great if you have any gardening queries.
Terms and conditions: UK entries only. There is no cash alternative and the prize cannot be transferred. I will select the winner from the entries provided and my decision is final. If the winner does not respond with their details within 7 days I reserve the right to select a new winner. The gardening kit will be sent to the winner's home address by Plant Me Now, and they are responsible for fulfilling the prize.
Disclosure: I have received no payment or payment in kind to run this competition, I'm doing it because it's such a great prize!