Home Life & Style King Charles's gardener shares top weed control tips – including ditching pesticides

King Charles's gardener shares top weed control tips – including ditching pesticides


The Prince Of Wales Launches The Coronation Meadows Initiative

Jack Stook maintains the gardens at Highgrove (Image: Getty)

King Charles’s gardener has revealed his top-tips for keeping your green space in top condition this summer.

Jack Stooks has worked at the King’s Highgrove House residence in Gloucestershire for 20 years, maintaining the grounds in a way that reflects the Monarch’s “natural artistic ability”.

The garden has been designed, as the King says, to “please the eye and sit in harmony with nature”.

It comprises of a cottage garden, wildflower meadow, and a rich variety of flowers aimed at offering an organic and sustainable plot.

READ MORE: Five houseplants which will ‘thrive’ in your bathroom and keep mould at bay

King Charles in Highgrove

King Charles in Highgrove’s meadows. (Image: Getty)

Speaking to Closer, Jack has now revealed six ways you too can spruce up your garden this summer.

Add a splash of colour

The expert gardener says dahlias, gladiolus, begonias, cosmos, and nicotiana are among the blooms that will add that extra splash of colour to your green space.

He said: “When you’re designing your garden, think of colour, the longevity of the plant and whether you want to use it as a cut flower in the house.”

He says summer bouquets can be made from flowers such as dahlias, cosmos, sweet peas and larkspur.

Cosmos, for example, can be scattered into the soil in a wild seed mix, or in packs of plug plants.

Pink Sylvia dahlia flower. Beautiful bright pink colored ball variety dahlia close up.

Jack says dahlias add a splash of colour to your garden. (Image: Getty)

Add a “slug pub”

Slugs can be a formidable opponent for gardeners. 

But Jack says dealing with them is easier than your might think.

He says a Brussel sprout leaf or a piece of kale – with a rock on top to stop it blowing away – will attract slugs.

Every day, this can then be removed along with the pests.

A “beer trap” can also be used.

To make this – simply dig a straight-sided jar into the soil, so they are around 1cm off the ground, fill a quarter of it with beer and then put a rock loosely on top.

Overnight, the slugs will have a merry time and become trapped.

Spanish slug pest Arion vulgaris snail parasitizes on potato leaves Solanum tuberosum potatoes leaf vegetables cabbage lettuce moving garden, eating r

Slugs can be a formidable garden opponent (Image: Getty)

How to prune your roses

Jack says anyone wanting to use roses in their garden should use a reputable dealer.

He advises gardeners to follow Royal Horticultural Society guidelines when pruning, following how to trim each variety.

And, while most people say cut the stems down to the first leaflet with five leaves, Jack goes even lower.

Jack reveals his favourite rose type is called Olivia, and can be bought from specialist grower David Austin.

delicate fragrant pink rose

Knowing your rose varieties can help with pruning (Image: Getty)

Look after your lawn

Getting that perfect lawn can be difficult and Jack admits he likes to leave a few weeks between mows if possible.

He says the way to get an ideal lawn is with a high cut in the spring, before gradually getting lower.

He then rakes to scarify it and get rid of dead leaves.

Jack says gardeners should feed their lawn every three months.

Woman farmer lets the robotic lawnmower go to cut the grass

Mowing your lawn is a quick fix, Jack says (Image: Getty)

Stop the weeds

Jack’s approach to weed control is “little-and-often”.

He prefers to tackle weeds as soon as the weather dries up, opting for half-an-hour of hand-weeding each day, as opposed to “harmful” pesticides.

He said: “It really helps to keep on top of weeds because then they don’t sprout and spread. Pull them up from their roots so they don’t come back.”

Jack suggests anyone struggling with ground elder, a common invasive weed, should tackle it before the white flowers appear.

Dead Weeds, Weed Killer, Herbicide

Removing weeds will give your garden a boost (Image: Getty)

Give your garden an instant facelift

If you’re hosting guests, or simply want a quick-fix for your garden, then Jack recommends mowing your lawn.

He added: “Even if that’s all you do, people will think your garden looks lovely.”

Edging your borders will also give your garden a boost, even if you only have time to do the first few feet all the way along.

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