Gardening tips from Glyndebourne’s head gardener Kevin Martin

PUBLISHED: 18:04 16 July 2013 | UPDATED: 18:04 16 July 2013

The blue border

The blue border

Howard Sooley

As midsummer approaches the Glyndebourne gardens begin to overflow with flowers. The roses are at their best, the perennials are blooming and the summer bedding is about to burst into colour.

Don’t be in too much of a hurry to plant out your summer bedding. We don’t start until the beginning of the month, which is plenty of time to ensure a great display during the summer. Any earlier and the cool evenings, or even late frosts, can curb a plant’s growth and may even affect how well it flowers. When you do come to plant out your bedding, make sure you water those plants really well. Don’t make the assumption that because the soil is already wet or rain is forecast you don’t need to water.

Dozens of flower-filled terracotta pots brighten the terraces and public spaces at Glyndebourne during the summer, but making sure they are well looked after takes care and attention. As soon as a plant’s roots fill a pot we’ll move it into a larger one until it is ready to be planted into the garden. This sounds like a lot of work, especially at a time when lots of other jobs need doing, but it’s definitely worth it. If you don’t do this, plants will become pot-bound and stop growing. In my experience, this is a particular problem with sunflowers and sweetcorn, so if you don’t want stunted plants keep potting them on. June is also a good time to pot up plants that will flower later in the year.

Plants in pots can dry out quickly, so if the weather starts to heat up make sure to check how your pots are faring. To keep plants in pots in peak condition we feed them once a week with a liquid fertiliser throughout the summer. The other way to make sure plants in pots look good is to regularly deadhead – that is cut off the flowers that are over. Don’t wait until you have lots of flowers that have finished. As soon as you see the first dead flower, snip it off. Pelargoniums in particular benefit from regular deadheading. Watering, feeding and deadheading should keep your pots looking wonderful all summer long – allowing you to enjoy an abundance of flowers just as we do.


To book tickets for Glyndebourne Festival visit or call 01273 813813.

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