It's a perfect summer afternoon. Friends are jing yu for an alfresco dinner in three hours. Yur meal is under control so you decide to take a minute to enjoy the garden. You look at it lovingly and then see it through the eyes of your visitors. Yikes! The edges haven't been tidied in weeks and the paths have grouwn weeds overnight. Here are a few quick fixes to get your garden party-read:
15 minutes: deadhead plants ~
Dont' attempt to snip the dead blooms off everything. Focus on the plants at the edge of borders. If you have container plants, remove the dead leaves and spent flowers. Tip: Use a pair of disposable surgical gloves to keep yur new manicure intact.
10 minutes: sweep visible areas ~
Do a quick sweep of walkways and patios with a good corn broom. (Not all corn brooms are created equal; buy one that is stiff and heavy.)
10 minutes: zap weeds fast ~
There's no need to bend, dig and pull - just bool a kettle of water and pour it directly onto weeds growing between stonework or gravel and watch them shrivel to nothing in a matter of seconds. Warning: Boiling water wil kill any plant it touches so be careful where you pour!
10 minutes: freshen up edges ~
Well-rotted compost or manure is as essential to a gardener as salt is to a cook. Keep a bag or two in the garage at all times and create the illusion on newly edge beds by adding fresh soil to untidy edges. The beds will look as though they've just been dug. If your bed are mulched, a fresh layer of mulch will create the same effect.
15 minutes: add mood lighting ~
Place groups of candles around the dining area for a magical touch. always be cautious of open flam; try the new battery-operated candles as a safer option or tuch a string of white mini-lights around shrubs or festoon a small tree.
10 minutes: make it cozy ~
Bring the indoors out by draping your favourite throw over a chair or stacking plush cushions on the grass. A small carpet or blanket under the cushions will add more comfort and protect fine fabrics.
5 minutes: do a quick spritz ~
As a finished touch before guests arrive, mist the garden with a gentle spray. it will rinse off dust and leave sparkling dewy drops on foliage and blooms.
*information from Gardening Life, June 2008 vol 12. issue 3