Heatwave promises good veg and thriving blooms for gardeners

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The hot, sunny weather could deliver excellent veg, fruit and flowers in the nation’s gardens, if they get enough water, horticultural experts have said.

The sunshine can fill potatoes with starch, carrots and beetroots with sugar, ripen fruit such as tomatoes with good flavour, and help tender crops such as figs and pumpkins, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) said.

The conditions are also good for flowers such as canna, dahlias, petunias and marigolds, and even for helping plants such as Choisya or Mexican orange build up harder wood to resist winter freezes.

“Plants, like gardeners, love sunshine and warmth, as long as they have enough water,” the RHS’s chief horticultural adviser, Guy Barter, said.

With rain in April and a couple of storms in May, some soils are still retaining moisture despite recent dry conditions, he said.

And he added: “People needn’t worry that their lawns are going to be killed off by the dry spell, even if it goes brown.

“Water is something that should be conserved, so unless there’s a really good reason, you don’t really need to water it.

“It’s much more important to keep looking after the newly planted stuff and look after the containers.”

He suggested using waste water from the kitchen, saying: “Washing-up water and water used to wash the fruit and veg can keep containers going very nicely without having to deplete the public water supply.”

He said crops such as sweetcorn, pumpkins and squash, which struggle in dull summers, will do well, while grapes and figs are also expected to have a good year.

The fine weather is making for excellent conditions at the build up to the annual RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, the society said (Steve Parsons/PA)
The fine weather is making for excellent conditions in the build-up to the annual RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, the society said (Steve Parsons/PA)

Common favourite plants like lavender, dahlias, lilies, petunias, geraniums and fuschias all thrive in heat, he said.

“I think, in broad terms, as long as things that are vulnerable are watered when needed, it’s the most wonderful weather.”

It is also good news for the build-up to the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, where exhibitors and designers are enjoying excellent conditions as they put the finishing touches to gardens and exhibits.

Dry conditions will also make it easier to restore the grounds at the historic royal palace to their “pristine nature” after the flower show, Mr Barter said.

“We’re looking forward to a really good show.”

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