JulyWe are well into the summer now and the garden is hopefully looking full of health and vigour with wonderful displays of colour. With longer evenings you will be able to enjoy the garden at its best and a little time spent on a few jobs will mean you can be confident that it will not disappoint.
•At this time of year many of us are thinking of escaping for a week or two, if you are concerned about how your garden will fare while you are away there are a few simple steps you can take to keep things ticking over while you are away. Give all of your plants a nice big drink before you go away pay particular attention to newly planted trees and shrubs, this should keep them happy for a couple of weeks until you return. Cut back Roses and perennials which you feel will go over while you are away before you go and you should return to fresh new flowers.
•Wisterias will have finished flowering a couple of months ago now and will have put out lots of long green tendrils. Tie in any of these you need to extend the framework, the remaining need cutting back to 6 leaves from the main stems, roughly by half. By doing this you help the plant think about making flowers for next year not trying to support masses of rangy, leafy growth.
•Cut back perennial Salvias such as 'Caradonna' and 'Ostfriesland' to encourage further flowering. Lupins too will benefit from this.
•Dividing and moving bearded Irises should be done around now. Simply lift the clump cut off any of the rhizomes which look old and withered with a pair of secateurs. You can break up the clump with confidence as long as each pair of leaves has a reasonable length of rhizome and a good root system attached, then re-plant, ensuring the root is buried well and the rhizome is just under the surface where it can be baked by the sun. You can then trim the leaves into a neat fan.
•Keep cutting/dead -heading any Roses and Sweet peas. If you don’t they will stop producing any more flowers as they will feel that their work here is done.
•There are a number of trees which prefer to have any work done to them during summer months, I have already mentioned Prunus and Magnolia but Hawthorn also fares better if pruned in summer.
•Camellias will be setting their buds for flowering next year now so ensuring they have regular watering now will help them to do this. A lack of water now is often the cause of buds dropping the following spring.
•Keep an eye on your Courgettes they have a habit of turning into Marrows when your back is turned, so keep picking.
•Keep an eye out for the beginnings of blight on Tomatoes and Potatoes, once it has taken hold there is no longer any chemical control available to domestic gardeners. The infection is very dependent on particular weather conditions, damp humid conditions allow the pathogen to flourish and the spores are then spread by wind. Ensuring that all of the potato crop is cleared away every season and practicing crop rotation can stop the spores from surviving to re- infect the following year. Earthing up your Potatoes can also act as a barrier to the pathogen.
For Tomatoes in greenhouses good ventilation is important. Unfortunately in a damp summer the disease can rampage through crops and there is nothing to be done but dig up and dispose of the crop. Never put the affected foliage into the compost heap, it can go into the green bin the temperatures that the council heaps get to is enough to kill the spores.
•Pinch out the tops of tomato plants so they can concentrate on nurturing the fruit and as soon as fruit begins to set feed every 10-14 days with a high potash feed.
- If you are going away for any length of time on holiday group your pots together out of direct sun if you can as this will help the plants to conserve water. Place saucers under the pots just while you are away. Or fill a paddling pool with a bit of water and put you pots in there for the duration.
- Before you leave have a thorough dead-heading session, take off anything which is over or quite close to being over and you will return to flowers which are still in good condition.
- Feeding and dead-heading will help you container grown plants to continue to perform.
- If you have a mixed container and one particular plant is letting the side down whip it out and replace it giving the display a boost.
•The growth rate of the lawn will start to slow down as summer progresses so keep the mower height high to help it cope with dryer summer conditions.
•Brush out Ant nests prior to mowing to help control them.
Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use.
Click on one of the other months below to see what you can look forward to