ONE of my favourite summer bulbs is the eucomis, commonly called a pineapple lily. They are perfect choices for containers which can go on patios, balconies or anywhere in the garden. I have five containers of them, including one called Sparkling Burgundy, which is a fairly recent one which has dark stems, perfect for adding an air of mystery to a flagging border or lacklustre pot. The remainder are ones I was given several years ago and look amazing each summer. They are bulbous perennials forming a rosette of upright, strap-shaped, reddish-purple leaves up to 60cm long, with starry purple-tinged flowers, borne in a dense raceme on an erect, purple stem in late summer, quite magical. Mine are just about starting to form their flowers and will continue to look good right through until the autumn, they may need some support to keep flowers upright.

This weekend anyone wanting to get out and visit a National Garden Scheme garden is spoilt for choice. There are five different trails to visit, Bexhill, Deaks Lane in Ansty, Seaford and Hassocks gardens open on Sunday with another trail in Mayfield on both days. Holford Manor is open in North Chailey both days too. You can find all the details on entrance and opening times at

A job worth doing this weekend, if not already completed, is to pinch out the tips of fuchsias and bedding plants to encourage bushier growth. You might delay the flowering of the plants but the end result will be well worth it. I’ve got many fuchsias at Driftwood and this really helps to prevent them getting too leggy and creates nice shaped shrubs as part of the garden displays.

Almost a full-time job for me is to keep the garden watered. Ideally you should water plants early in the morning, to avoid evaporation loss during the day. On warm summer days, evening watering is also likely to be effective, the dry soil soaking it in readily and low humidity at night reducing risk of disease. To determine the need for watering, inspect the soil at a spade’s depth. If the soil feels damp, there is unlikely to be any need to water, but if it is dry, then watering is probably required for some plants.

For plants in pots, the compost looking paler or feeling dry to the touch and the pot becoming lighter in weight (and consequently more prone to blowing over) are all signs that the compost is beginning to dry and is in need of water. With many containers in my garden trust me, it’s a full-time job in the summer months.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at