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Alan Parker recently opened a new shop in Frogmore Street, selling DIY, Gardening, Housewares and Toys. His new editorial column begins this month with tips and suggestions on how to look after your garden and home during the summer months.


July is the month to start thinking about holidays…but what about the austerity measures? Don’t you think you should stay at home and save money instead? Should you invest some time and money in the house? Maybe, but you also deserve a break! Whatever you decide to do, July should be a time to sit back and enjoy the warmer weather and your garden in full bloom. Maybe do a little dead-heading, drink some Pimms, mow the grass, have a cold beer – that kind of thing. If you do enjoy being busy, though, then there is still lots that you could be doing this month.

I’ve mentioned gardens in bloom, so don’t forget to keep flowers and plants well watered and fed, as July is generally the driest month. Concentrate especially on pots and planters. Dead-heading will help encourage continuous flowering.
Lawns will benefit with a good summer feed – some feeds now work straight after mowing, which makes life easier with timing the rain!

We’ll undoubtedly experience some damp weather during the summer, so keep an eye on the slugs and snails around your summer vegetables. If you are an organic gardener you need to be out at dusk to search out the little pests and dispose of them as you will, but if you mean to eradicate them by other means here is the tip of the month:

Spread slug pellets away from the affected plants, preferably out of the garden altogether. Slugs are attracted to the pellets and will be tempted away from the garden to meet their doom!


July should be mainly dry, so check all your paintwork outside whether it be on the house, shed or fence. The weather has been semi dry this year so it is a good time to redecorate. If, like me, you live in a red brick, brown stained woodwork house, then here is an idea to drag you and your house out of the nineties and into the contemporary world: Modern water-based eggshell paints work fantastically well painted straight onto stained woodwork, providing it is in good condition. They are very easy to use and give a great finish.

We are in the process of decorating our house and there are many colours of paint to choose from. We plumped for Attic II which is by Little Greene – it is a mid to dark greyish brown and has given a new dynamic to the house, bringing it up to date with very little effort.

As for the rest of the woodwork like sheds and fences, why not break away from the usual five colour choices and mix your own? In our recent decoration project, we used a Natural stone Cuprinol garden shades mixed with some Attic II or Silt eggshell (I cannot remember which) and it resulted in a really lovely colour. Believe it or not, as long as both products are water-based they will mix very well. Use your imagination to create your own unique colour and then have fun naming it! Why should Little Greene and Dulux have all the fun?

Happy holidays!

Article by Alan Parker

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