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Blog posts tagged with 'july'

July Jobs
The traditional time to cut evergreen hedges is after the Epsom Derby, so all your beautiful box hedging, parterres and topiary should now be well on the way to being reshaped.
 
You still just have a window to sow mange tout peas for an autumn crop of  and successional sowings of salads.
 
July is a traditional month of change, the last chance to cut the hay if it stays dry enough - in some counties it is the last month of summer before the beginning of the harvests in August. However, continue to water your plants as the rain may not be as substantial as you at first expect. Unless the rain is heavy and sustained, in this warmth, much will be evaporated before it reaches the deeper roots. Thus the best thing you can do for your precious plants is to water heavily in the evening twice a week. Remember, there is really no use watering a little amount as much will evaporate, so water well.
 
Whilst talking of watering, please remember visitors to your garden may need a thirst quenching drink. A water bowl will offer hedgehogs welcome respite, so too a bowl placed higher - out of reach of cats - may provide our avian friends with much needed liquid. Whilst you may curse the pigeons for stripping the cabbages, song thrushes are great at ridding the garden of snails and slugs.
 

 

Notwithstanding, I must admit here, I am no fan of the lawn sprinkler. We may live in a country that has rain as a `normal` weather occurrence, but the way we collect it for our use is pretty poor. Thus we should not look upon using such a vital resource as a throw away substance, indeed as utilities push their prices up, watering the lawn will be impractical and expensive in the near future. Only 0.02% of all water on the planet is available to drink so think on. Instead, try to save your grey water. Set up water buts next to your bath or shower down pipe. Buy a water butt or two for the drain pipes and if you are really savvy, install a soak away that feeds into an underground storage area or bog garden. (You may even get a reduction in your water bill as believe it or not, you are paying for waste water to be transported away from your house.) If you are still worrying about the lawn, don`t worry, it can happily go dormant for a number of months without a problem. Yellow isn’t that bad when it saves you money.     
Preparing for Harvest
If you are keen on growing veg and want to continue the harvest well into autumn and winter, now is your chance to sow.
 
 
 
You still have a window for Broad Beans and Peas, for a September/October harvest. If you plant potatoes in planters, pots or grow bags from now until August and keep them in a frost free area, you will have crops of new potatoes until Christmas.  You will also now have to think about the winter veg. Black Kale, Brussel Sprouts, Chard are all plants that you can harvest through autumn and winter – not forgetting the winter cabbage and winter salads. Perhaps you can turn your attention to Onions also, which can be planted in august for an early harvest next year. Not forgetting research those plants like Collard and Turnip-tops that fill the ‘hungry gap’ next March.
 
In the ornamental garden, your flower beds should now be looking spectacular, but I have no doubt there will be areas you are not happy with. Make a note in your gardening book of the things you need to do, ready for autumn. This year has been great for many plants, but it has also been great for fungus. The hot damp air giving them ideal conditions to grow. Check your roses, hollyhocks, and iris. These are all very susceptible to an attack of rusts, wilts and other horribles. If you see any sign of disease try to cut the area from the plant and burn it. If the plant is too far gone, make a note and remember to treat early next year or remove the plant entirely if seriously damaged.
 

 

An interesting garden fact? Until the discovery of the ‘Persian Yellow’ variety and the use of it in the breeders’ gene pool, roses never suffered from black spot fungus. So if your rose suffers from this problem, at least you know part of its fine lineage. In Autumn, pick up all the fallen leaves and burn them so the fungus does not sit dormant for an attack next year. An old wives tale states garlic planted amongst your roses prevents such attacks – making sure to stop it from flowering else your roses take on a smell of alliums…
Holiday Gardening
Can you tell I’ve been on holiday?
 
 

 

 
It is often with a sense of wonder that seaside gardens are generally overlooked as places of beauty, I suppose because we are so intent on enjoying a thin strip of sand or pebble as if it were the pinnacle of our holiday experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beach and love swimming in the great body of water that connects humanity.  But, one cannot have ice-cream every day.
 
Personally, I love what the resolute and the inventive create, growing plants in what is one of the harshest environments we can attempt to grow anything in. There are the success stories, such as Derek Jarman’s garden at Dungeness or the majesty of the Rock Gardens at Southsea, in Portsmouth to name but two and well worth a visit. Then there are the small victories that go unnoticed, yet achieve something of the sublime and in their own way make all efforts worth a million days further inland. Of course one cannot grow acid loving plants in a place where alkaline salt rules the day, but do we need Camellias and Azaleas everywhere?
 
Whenever, I venture to the seaside, I always make it a rule to pay attention to the planting. Be it the habitual and architectural such as the Scots Pine and Holm Oak, to the fine feathery beauty of the Tamarisk, not forgetting the heat and colour of the Kniphofia  and Rudbeckia – both favourites of the seaside. Or perhaps the delicate carpets of Sea Thrift or Osteospermum catch your eye. But we in the UK have such varying micro-climates, we are lucky to explore many different styles, from the sub-tropical Scilly Isles and Scottish west coast, to the semi-arid Suffolkcoast and the wind blasted North East.
 
Basically, rather than me giving you a lecture on how to create your very own seaside garden in the hills of Derbyshire, I ask of you one thing. Keep your eyes peeled. You may find a gem of undeniable beauty hidden away behind an Escallonia hedge.
 
 

 

 
Top 20 Tasks for the Garden in July

 

 
RHS Rose Gloves by Town & Country


Despite the weather, there are plenty of tasks to be done this month. The rainy weather is an ideal time to be budding roses to propagate, whilst the sap is running freely. Don’t forget to wear rose protective gloves which are thorn resistant from Town & Country.

1. When shallot stalks have turned yellow no further growth develops. Scrape soil from around the bulbs and bend tops over to assist ripening. When this has taken place, ease them out with a fork. Dry well for two days by hanging them in the sun or if the rain doesn’t stop, spread them on a shelf in a dry, airy shed.

2. A warm March combined with a cool April has now resulted in early bumper crops of sweet strawberries, full of flavour. With all this rain, you may want to protect your strawberries by moving them under cover. This month is a good time to layer your strawberries. Choose the best runners and using the first plantlet only on each runner, cut off beyond this and peg it down close to the joint or node. Layer into pots of sand to facilitate moving when rooted. When the runner plant is well rooted, usually after around 3 weeks, sever the running stalk.

3. Slugs love this wet weather and can cause damage to plants. Sprinkle lime soot around seedlings, frequently renewing.

4. Sow hollyhock, snapdragon, foxglove, gaillardia and anchus on borders.

5. Summer prune apples and pear trees.

6. Prune raspberries. All old canes which fruited should be cut down near to the ground level and burned, leaving only strong canes of this year’s growth.

7. If you’re going on holiday, place ferns, palms and other pot plants if well rooted in a large container in which the water reaches half way up the pots. Place the container in a shady spot. House plants will be better outside where they will be exposed to rainfall.

8. Clip all hedges and evergreen shrubs and trees.

9. Cut off all dead or dying flowers and untidy shoots from bedding plants.

10. Mow the lawn thoroughly.

11. Hoe the soil well in beds and borders.

12. If you planted potatoes in March, these will be ready to harvest.

13. Its also the time this month to order second cropping potatoes to be planted in August for harvesting in December.

14. Plant out leek seedlings in July.

15. Enjoy a selection of herbs in your salads and harvest garlic bulbs. Dry herbs or freeze in ice cubes to drop in soups.

16. Check your seed packets to see what else is left to sow. You can continue sowing lettuce 2 weeks apart throughout July.

17. Sow winter salad crops and pak choi.

18. Sow freesia seed thinly for flowering in spring.

19. Sow turnip seed to provide roots in autumn.

20. Carry out the main sowing of spring cabbages, radishes and parsley this month.

-- Rob Amey