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PLANT OF THE MONTH
Your garden in July
Well, after a fairly sunny June, with some showers thrown in, our gardens are looking pretty good just now. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the Hydrangeas are looking amazing this year, better than ever. I’ve seen so many walking past people’s gardens and they really do look stunning. And now, we’re into July and so many perennials and annuals are flowering in our gardens, not only looking fabulous and colourful but also attracting a multitude of insects, especially bees and butterflies.
As so many plants are now at their finest it’s also a great time to pop down to your local garden centre and see what’s in flower. This not only allows you to see the plants at their best but also allows you to gauge colours and textures before creating planting schemes for your own garden. Planting perennials now not only gives you instant colour but also allows them to establish so next year’s displays will be even more impressive.
Everything in the garden is now growing rapidly, which means it’s a never ending task keeping on top of everything, whether it’s pruning early flowering shrubs such as Philadelphus, cutting back perennials such as Geraniums to encourage a second flush of flowers or staking tall flowering perennials, the list goes on and on.
Unfortunately our prized plants aren’t the only things growing like crazy and weeding is a constant chore to prevent them from taking over. If done regularly, hoeing works well on smaller annual weeds and is best done on warm, dry days when dislodged weeds will wither and die. For more stubborn perennial weeds such as docks, dandelions and nettles it may be necessary to use a systemic weed killer such as Glyphosate.
If you’ve not already done, a good layer of mulch, ideally 7 to 8cm will act as an effective weed barrier as well as keeping in moisture and improving the aesthetics of beds and borders. This can be in the form of wood-chip, bark, or well rotted manure and not only has the afore mentioned benefits but also slowly breaks down adding nutrients to the soil and improving soil structure.
If you’re well on top of things (or even if you’re not!), July is a great time to sit back and enjoy the garden, whether it’s dining on freshly grown fruit and vegetables or admiring the fantastic floral displays and all the wildlife that they attract.
We’ve decided to name Dahlias as our Plant of the Month – not an individual one but the whole blooming lot! Dahlias are brilliant at adding bold splashes of colour to your mid and late summer borders.There are so many different varieties and colours available, we’ll try to showcase as many as possible in our plant area this month, so you can take your pick.
Gardening Jobs for July
Keep checking if plants need water, especially new plantings and plants in containers
Don’t forget to organise for a neighbour to water your garden or containers if you are going away on holiday
Continue dead heading and checking for pests and diseases
Feed and water summer bedding. Feed perennials too.
Sow biennials, herbs and vegetables
Plant autumn-flowering bulbs
Use night-scented plants such as Buddleia and Oenothera macrocarpa (Evening Primrose) to attract moths which, in turn, are a feast for bats.
Dead head and tidy rose bushes and then apply a general fertiliser
Keep your lawn neat to really show off your beds and borders – re-edging is a good way to do this
Harvest seeds as soon as they are ripe
Harvest fruit vegetables and herbs while they are in prime condition. Freeze, store or give away any that you cannot use yourself
Propagate by layering
Prune shrubs, like Philadelphus, which flowered in June
Summer prune fruit trees
Trim and reshape hedges
Place a log pile in a shady area, such as under a tree, at the foot of a hedge, at the back of the border, or behind a shed for frogs, toads, beetles, hedgehogs to shelter and cool from the summer heatinfo