Todmorden in Bloom: We can’t change it, we must work with it

Sun-loving plants planted together
Sun-loving plants planted together

After the deluges of summer 2012, this year’s summer heat has been quite a challenge!

It makes it all the more difficult to know how to garden successfully. Todmorden in Bloom hope some of these ideas will help you garden in varying conditions.

Mulching in spring helps moisture-loving plants to survive. You can use well-rotted manure (in a large garden!), leaf mould, compost or bark. Mulches can also improve the structure of your soil.

Be aware of micro-climates within your planting spaces. A large garden can vary in how hot, dry or damp it gets in different areas. A sun-baked yard wall will be hotter than the potential opposite damp, shady corner. The direction of the prevailing wind is also important.

Plan your plants intelligently, think ahead for the long term and choose plants adapted to your own setting. For a hot, dry spot, select plants that have adapted to drought, these include plants seen in places like rockeries, close to seaside beaches, or growing in walls. New plants have more chance to establish in autumn with regular rainfall whilst water-seeking roots can find damp.

Do you have a water butt at the base of your drainpipe? Water resources need careful management, so hand-water rather than using sprinklers. Try zoning your planting scheme so all moisture-loving plants are together and drought-tolerant likewise. Native perennials tend to fare best as they have learnt to cope with all weathers.

The Royal Horticultural Society has launched a campaign against the tarmacing and bricking of gardens, explaining that water landing on them is mostly shuted to drains and increases flood risks. They advise permeable materials be used which allow water penetration into the ground. Gravel with a narrow strip of earth to allow low-level enduring plants, such as thyme in sun or ajuga in shade, is the best solution for garden car parking.

We cannot change our unpredictable weather so we have to work with it.

TIB will always welcome more helpers. For more information phone Norman on 01706 812205 or Jean on 01706 817492 or see