How to take care of your garden when travelling

Everyone looks forward to a summer holiday abroad but for keen gardeners a week or longer away from home during the peak of summer can take its toll on a beautiful outdoor space. As you might expect, in order to keep your garden healthy whilst you are away, preparation is key. Read on for hints and tips on how to ensure you'll find a healthy lawn and garden on your return.

1. Enlist the help of friends and family
Whether you are relying on the help of a sibling or have a willing neighbour at hand, never underestimate the difference their help can make! For gardeners worried about their prize vegetables or beautiful blooms, having someone to water them regularly and protect them from hungry pests is worth its weight in gold. For the community minded a gardening time share might also be something to consider.

2. Protect vulnerable plants from the elements
With hot temperatures and unforeseen showers threatening to ruin your garden whilst you are away, it really pays to investigate all your options. If you are considering landscaping for example, there are many advantages to installing wooden fencing. Alternatively, growing conifers to create shade or building a greenhouse or bedding vulnerable plants like strawberries with straw are all excellent ways to protect helpless vegetation.

3. Water thoroughly
The day before you head off, make sure you give the lawn a mow followed by a good soak. Trimming the grass to a slightly shorter length means it won't need as much water but also ensures it won't burn during a sudden sunny spell. Whilst you are away, sprinklers or a few inches of mulch are a great way to ensure plants and grasses stay hydrated.

4. Safeguard plants from direct sunlight
Before you leave, move all of your containers and hanging plants away from direct sunlight and place them in an area of dim shade. During your absence, this will slow down their growth and lessen the amount of water that they require. Remove bottom trays to prevent plant roots rotting and prune any darkening leaves to enable the plant to conserve its reserves.

5. Check for problems
Always do a quick check the week before you leave and try to take care of any problems you can upfront. For example, signs of fungus, aphid infestation or animal pests can be addressed with pesticide sprays or temporary fencing. 

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