Gardening for Penwith in 2006

The Council gardeners' summer report from St Ives and Hayle

What they're doing, and what you could be doing, now

Here at St Ives and Hayle it's peak season and we are very busy on the run up to Britain in Bloom judging. Although the season got off to a slow start, the plants caught up very quickly and seem to be thriving in the good weather.

At this point in time we have finished bedding out our flower beds and are busy ensuring they stay weed-free and fed and watered regularly. Our favourite plants when bedding out are Begonia, Busy Lizzies and Marigolds, as we have found over the years that these are good reliable plants that always give a fantastic display. The Begonias and Busy Lizzies don't need dead heading and that saves a lot of time and work. Our hanging baskets and troughs are also being put up on shops and businesses around St Ives and Hayle.

We have put a good variety of plants into our troughs and baskets: Begonias, Fuchsias, Lobelia, Geranium Ivy Leafs and Verbena, to mention a few. We make sure they are watered and fed twice a week and also dead headed regularly this is a large task in such a busy town. We use Oasis in our compost and also Swell Gel' which helps the plants from drying out in really hot weather.

We are currently trialling a new watering system in our flower beds which entails burying water wells underneath the flower bed. This should in theory water the plants at root level and you don't lose water through evaporation as you do when you water with a hose pipe, so this should reduce the frequency of watering.

We are also going through our gardens weeding and cleaning as we go. In Trewyn Gardens we have Cineraria growing wild all over the garden and it gives fantastic early colour to the garden. When we remove the old dead stems we give it a good shake to disperse the seed, ensuring next year's display. Our lawns also need attention with Fusarium, and daisies need to be eradicated to give it that lush green look. With all this hot weather lawns tend to dry out leaving brown patches all over. We try not to cut the grass too short, which helps, and also to use a sprinkler sparingly. But if it turns brown we don't worry as it always comes back just as good later in the year when the weather changes. We hope this year will be a successful one as far as the Britain in Bloom goes and look forward to planning what we are going to plant in the Autumn.

Chris Bassett, Head Gardener, St Ives