Holiday Gardens – maintaining your garden when you’re away

red pelagonium, sailing ship, harbour, Fowey, holiday gardens, Cornwall, Marie Shallcross


Holiday gardens? What are those?


Is it when you go to Portugal for two weeks; your garden goes on holiday to Cornwall?


If only!


No, holiday gardens are about the practical steps you can take so your garden has a rest while you go off on holiday.


Holiday Gardens – think ahead:

  • Save plastic containers to use as water trays under pots, they’re often deeper than plastic pot saucers
  • Save plastic bottles, large and small, to use as water reservoirs
  • Purchase capillary matting on which you can place lots of pots together


Holiday Gardens – nearer the time:

  • Deadhead flowering plants;
  • Weed;
  • Apply mulch on any bare soil after watering

How to use Plastic squash & pop bottles as water reservoirs:

  • Cut off the bottom and put a hole in the cap. This will then be put top end down in the soil or pot next to your thirsty plants – tomatoes and dahlias, for example.
  • Water is poured into the bottle and it slowly soaks through to the plant’s roots.
  • This is actually a good trick if you don’t want to be always watering tomatoes, courgettes and squash in your vegetable area or on the allotment.


Holiday Gardens – Containers

Pots –

  • Where are the cooler places in the garden? Out of the midday sun is good for most plants. Place on matting or in trays; water well before you leave, so that the plants are “sitting in moistness”.
  • However, your pelargoniums (pot geraniums) will not take too kindly to having their roots sitting in water, so water well before you leave making sure the water gets down to the roots. They are fairly drought tolerant, so should be fine if in a shady spot. If in the sun and a porch where they won’t benefit from any rain, put tray underneath.

Hanging baskets – if in the rear garden, take down and treat as a pot above

Micro-salads – cut & eat before you go, leave in cool place, sitting in a tray filled with water.

annual bedding, old canoe, planter, container gardening, bedding plants, holiday gardens, Cornwall, Marie Shallcross


Holiday Gardens -Borders:

Established planting

By this I mean trees and shrubs in particular which have been in the ground for a few years and so have a good root system. They shouldnt need extra watering from you whether you’re at home or on holiday. Many established herbaceous perennials will also be fine.

If any of them are wilting because we’ve had a heat wave, then give the whole garden a thorough soak a day before you go away. (Guaranteed to make it rain on those of us staying behind…)

New plants, bedding, thirsty plants like dahlias –if room, use upturned pop bottle (as above) in the soil next to the plant to act as a reservoir. Otherwise thoroughly soak before you go away.

St Michaels Mount, tropical planting, yucca, palm trees, holiday gardens, Cornwall, Marie Shallcross, sea

Holiday Gardens – Lawn:

  • Domestic lawns don’t need watering unless new.
  • Mow before you go, medium cut;
  • And make sure you trim the edges; so it’s tidy when you come back – makes a big difference.

Holiday Gardens – Front garden:

The trick is to make it look like you’re still at home.

Put water reservoirs under pots (if in the sun) well in advance of your holiday so it looks ‘normal’.

Tidy up, weed & water planting as above.


Holiday Gardens – Keyholder:

If someone is coming in to check the house whilst you’re away, ask them to check the plants for wilting and water if necessary – and to help themselves to any crops/flowers for the house – good for the plant as it encourages more to grow for your return!

Holiday Gardens – On your  return:

unpack, put washing on; make tea/ pour wine, sit in garden and enjoy!

penstemon, aeonium, holiday gardens, Cornwall, Marie Shallcross

There are lots of ways of making your garden easy to maintain all year round –


Related Gardening blogs you may enjoy

Easy Maintenance Edible Gardens

Summer Gardens – Questions and Answers

Herbs for Summer Salads

How to have a ‘flower bomb’ August Garden


Garden Design Portfolio

Have a look at what a new garden design or planting design might do for your garden in one of our case studies – this one had a dramatic start!

storm damage garden, fence, decking, raised beds, fencing, shirley, Croydon, garden design

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