If you’re off on holiday soon or want to make the most of long days in the garden, use your time wisely and read a good gardening book or two. You can gen up on your favourite plants, plan next year’s garden, a new area in the garden or a new feature – or just brush up on your gardening techniques. Take a quick stroll around our book department for some inspirational reading.

Now’s the time to take semi-ripe cuttings from some of your favourite shrubs like Hebes, Rosemary, Weigela, Ceanothus and Hydrangeas. Take the cuttings from the current year’s growth just below a leaf, remove the leaves from the lower two-thirds of the cutting and dip the end in rooting hormone. Then insert the cuttings in pots of cuttings compost. Cover the pots with a polythene bag or put them in a propagator and place somewhere warm and sheltered but out of strong, direct sunlight. They should be ready to pot on in a few weeks. Don’t forget to pick up everything you need to ensure perfect cuttings including pots, cuttings compost, dibbers, rooting hormone, labels and propagators.

If you haven’t already done so, make sure you shade your greenhouse to prevent plants inside getting scorched. Use a shading wash or hang up fleece or shade netting. And keep vents open during warm weather; installing automatic vent openers will do the work for you. Water plants daily – or as and when they need it – and feed every seven to 10 days or so to ensure healthy growth and plenty of flowers and fruit. Damp down paths daily with a few gallons of water to help improve humidity and reduce problems with red spider mite.

If you love cooking indoors or are spending the long, sunny days and evenings barbecuing, then you’ll appreciate having plenty of fresh, tasty herbs. If you don’t have room in the rest of the garden, then plant up a herb pot with all your culinary favourites so they’re easily to hand when you need them. From Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme to Basil and Mint we have all the herbs you’ll need for a potpourri of scents and tastes.

If your lawn is looking tired and run down, give it a boost now with a liquid feed. And where weeds or moss are a problem use a liquid feed, weed and moss killer. Keep mowing regularly when the grass is growing to ensure it looks its best. You can leave small clippings on the lawn as they will help conserve soil moisture. But when a good soak is needed – lawns use around 4 gallons of water per square yard per week – use a lawn sprinkler set on a timer to avoid wasting water and making your water bill shoot up. We have a wide range of products to help keep your lawn green and healthy – just ask, we’re here to help.

Outdoor living
Gardens are for enjoying – and the summer is the best time to do it. So make sure you sit back, relax and enjoy your garden this year from the comfort of your own garden furniture. Or entertain friends and family with a slap-up barbecue. And if you plan to stay out late add some solar lighting. We have everything you need and plenty of ideas to ensure you get the most enjoyment from your garden this summer – just ask, we’re here to help.

Pest watch
During the warm, dry days of summer, pests like red spider mite, aphids and whitefly and diseases like mildew can really take hold and get out of control. Check plants regularly – daily if possible – for signs of trouble and deal with it quickly. One or two pests can soon become a major outbreak during warm weather. Ready-to-use sprayers are the quick and easy answer to your problems. Slugs and snails will also become busy after a cooling summer shower, so make sure you have controls ready to hand. If your plants have a problem ask one of our friendly staff to help you choose a suitable product to deal with it.

Plant buying tips
If you have colour gaps in your beds, borders and containers now is a good time to plug them. Treat you and your garden to an eye-catching tree or specimen plant like a tree fern, Fatsia Japonica, Phormium or grasses. Or if your garden is looking a bit flat put up an arch or trellis and cover it with colourful climbers. Look out for our instant colour suggestions from our wide range of shrubs, herbaceous plants and seasonal bedding. And if your patio is looking tired or colourless pop in some large container plants for instant impact.

Plants of the month
Make sure your garden is bursting with colour this summer with our plants of the month. There’s plenty to choose from for long-lasting interest including Fuchsias, Roses, Penstemons, Lavatera, Lavender and Spiraea. And don’t forget our huge range of summer-flowering herbaceous perennials. Bring your garden to life with our plants of the month.

Tomatoes are our favourite homegrown vegetable and a little care and attention now will ensure bumper crops throughout the summer. Make sure your plants are well supported – tying them in as they grow, remove sideshoots from upright cordon varieties, remove yellowing or dying leaves and watch out for pests and diseases, then treat accordingly. Feed weekly with a liquid tomato fertiliser and water regularly so that the compost or soil remains evenly moist. We stock everything you need for your best tomato crops ever.

Weeds can soon take over the garden and not only do they look unsightly, but they can smother your prized plants, steal valuable water and nutrients from the soil and become hosts to pests and diseases. Now’s the time for an all-out assault on them using a hoe for annuals and small weeds, mulches and planting membranes to keep beds and borders permanently weed free and weedkillers to stop even the most persistent weeds taking over. Use a weedkiller based on glyphosate for persistent, deep-rooted perennials. If you need any advice – just ask we’re here to help.

Wisteria pruning
To get the most from wisteria it’s important to build up a good framework of permanent branches to cover the support, so make sure you tie in stems as they grow. And now’s the time to give your wisteria its summer prune. Cut back all this year’s leafy sideshoots to five to seven leaflets. After pruning feed with a potash-rich granular feed such as a rose fertiliser. And if you were jealous of everyone else’s wisterias earlier this year then get buying and planting today. Remember they need a spot in full sun and a sturdy trellis or similar for support.