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Creating new beds in a heatwave? Advice please

Hello there.
I hope your gardens are doing OK in the heat. First time poster here and hope this isn't a stupid question.
I have two newly-created beds (I had no choice on the timing of this) which currently have possibly not very good quality topsoil in them. I am dying to plant them up but imagine now is very bad timing? I also want to dig in lots of good soil improver and to mulch them well. Can I do that now or do I need to wait until just before planting things? I have things that I have been trying to keep happy in pots but they're very keen to get into a proper bed. I feel I am going to have two dustbowls until autumn! Thanks so much for any advice.


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,484
    Hello Carmel  :)
    A lot may depend on whereabouts you are in the UK, but l'm guessing from your comments that you're down South somewhere. 
    Are your beds in sunny locations or do they get some shade ? Depending on just how bad your soil is, personally l would dig in the soil improver now as you may well find that it just disappears and you may need more. Preparation is so important.
    I would hold fire on any mulching until the plants are in.
    As for the plants, my personal instinct is to wait until Autumn, say mid September (but again that might depend on where you are).
    What sort of things are you planting ?
    PS There's no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to gardening, believe me  :)
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,690
    edited July 2022
    Agree with AnniD, add soil conditioner now and plant later. But I don't think it would be a bad thing to mulch with soil conditioner now, which can look smarter than bare soil and help reduce the number of weed seedlings you get. It will get partly incorporated by worms by the Autumn, and the rest will get automatically dug in as you carry out the planting. Then thickly mulch again after planting and that will work its way in over winter.
    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • Thank you so much for your comments, AnniD and Loxley! OK, will order the soil improver (which is also a mulch) and keep some back for autumn mulching when I plant. Will try to be patient for another 6 weeks before planting! Very good point, AnniD  - I didn't say that I am in London. One bed is backed by a wall and is pretty sunny from 12.00pm onwards (with one very shady corner), the other is smaller and is sunny in the morning and then part shade. I plan to plant a trachleospermum jasminoides (currently in a plot) and a clematis (early sensation?) against the wall. Maybe an amelanchiar laevis? Osmanthus or a sarcococca or abelia grandiflora in the corner. Filling in with achillea, crinan powerlii and oriental lillies, scarlet royal bumble salvia, erysimum cheiri scarlet bedder...and then, various dianthus, armeria maritima, rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon balm. marjoram, crocosmia, gladioli and lewisia...if they don't all give up the ghost in their pots before I can plant them. (I was waiting for a bordering wall to be rebuilt and so didn't have a say in the timing of all this.) 
    Thank you again for your time and your very helpful comments. I really appreciate it.
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    You can also add compost - not the stuff in a bag, well rotted muck of an organic nature. If your plants are really desperate  you could plant them out but you will need to manage watering really well because of this drought.
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,717
    edited July 2022
    Is this a massive bed? You have a lot of plants there. From the Dianthus to the lemon balm,these are all plants that want a lot of sun. The majority of these plants will be died down in autumn. We planted new shrubs in 2018, not realising,we weren't then going to get rain for 2 months. It was a nightmare. I'm also in the SE (east Sussex) my phone tells me it's going to rain this afternoon!
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,484
    I forgot to ask about the size of the beds 😊.
    If you tell us that it would help, also a couple of photos wouldn't go amiss to give further advice.

    Just to say that if you post photos, it would help to make them just a little smaller before posting. 
    There's a glitch on the forum which means even if they're the right way up when you post them, for some reason they turn out sideways on here.
  • Thank you all for your wise words.  Definitely seems to be some consensus here on not planting until September. I have ordered 20 bags of a mix of bark, soil, leaf mould and well-rotted manure which can apparently be used as an improver or mulch (20 bags was minimum order for delivery!). Th8ink I will have mulch for years to come. 
    Nanny Beach - I think you're right about too many plants. The amelanchier, in particular, is possibly just a pipe dream. I might jut keep some of the things in pots excactly where they are. (By the way, I grew up in Saltdean and my grandparents lived in Seaford so I know Eastbourne and surroundings fairly well - beautiful countryside. I hope you get some rain later!) 
    Going to try to upload a couple of pics now...thanks for advice on that, AnniD. 

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