Beds and borders Avoid mowing your lawn in wet weather
Some lofty perennials will collapse due to driving rainfall, while soft-stemmed, clump formers topped by masses of summer flowers will flop as water builds up on the top of plants - a few will bounce back when the weather improves, but others will look like they’ve had the stuffing knocked out of them. Those who shored up these plants in early spring are probably feeling a little bit smug now, but don’t despair if you didn’t get round to it. Use hoop supports or stake individual stems now and the chances are you can minimise damage.
Supporting plants will also help to prevent them from being dislodged in waterlogged soil. However, if the roots of plants have been completely submerged under water for several days then prune back top growth when water has drained away. This will ensure it has less leafy growth to support, giving it a better chance of survival.
Trees and shrubs
The foliage of evergreen shrubs can turn a sickly yellow when they’ve sat in saturated soil that’s had all of the nutrients washed out of it. Restore the vigour of plants by giving them a dose of liquid seaweed fertiliser. If you’re planning on planting trees and shrubs in the autumn, plant them on raised mounds to help improve drainage.
Plants in pots
Plants in pots are vulnerable to rain. Provide shelter for them by moving containers into the rain shadow created by a wall or fence. Place pot feet, bricks or large stones under containers to raise them off the ground, which will allow excess water to drain away. Make sure any saucers are removed from underneath pots or roots will ‘drown’ in the puddle of water that builds up.
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t mow the lawn in wet weather. In fact, don’t even walk on the lawn, unless necessary, as the pressure can cause structural damage, especially to those grown from seed in spring. Most established lawns can cope with excessive rainfall, but if puddles do build up, try and improve the drainage in these compacted areas by spiking or aerating in autumn.
Find more expert advice in Martyn's book, Big Gardens in Small Spaces: Out-of-the-Box Advice For Boxed-in Gardeners (£18.99, Timber Press), buy this book at a discount from Saga Bookshop.