by Webmaster, 7th July 2021
This month is a time for completing those essential jobs, before sitting back and relaxing, explains June Cynthia
Well, here we are in July, the height of summer so make the most of the long, light nights whilst we have them. It’s a good excuse to get a few extra jobs done in the garden after tea in order to be able slow up or perhaps stop for a while during August. I must admit that August is a time when I like to take things easy, to stand back and to appreciate all that’s been done and to enjoy the fruits of my labour; to relax and to take in the wonderful aromas and beauty of my garden. Perhaps sit a while with a pad and pencil to maybe re-arrange or re-design a particular area of my garden as a job for Autumn. But for now in July, we all still have a few jobs to do before we can sit back in and relax.
Jobs to do:
LAWNS: Tend your new and established lawns by watering copiously in the summer heat, and by mowing them regularly with a slightly raised cut. It’s not recommended that you fertilize your lawns during the heat of summer but don’t forget to aerate them to enable good drainage and to let them breathe. This will promote a healthier turf and give an overall lush appearance.
PLANTS: Dead head repeat flowering roses religiously each day if you can. This will encourage the plant to produce more flowers for a prolonged show of colour and continue tying up and staking young plants. Cut Lupins and other plants like Delphiniums to the ground. This will encourage the plants into a second flush. Dig up and divide irises that have lived in the same area for three years or more. Carefully inspect the rhizomes for disease and discard any that are infected. Replant what’s left, leaving the tops of the rhizome slightly proud of the newly enriched soil. Irises love to have their rhizomes baking in the sun. Pull off any dead leaves and cut the leaves by about half to stop transpiration. Give a good watering in very dry conditions. If you are planning to increase your iris collection, then now is the time to order your bulbous irises for Autumn planting. Oh and my favourite job is to keep picking the ever gorgeous, sweet peas. I get lost in their delicate hues and perfume and can’t have enough of them in my garden and home. They are quintessentially summer. Those and a Pimm’s, with strawberries of course!! (Keep picking and watering them too.)
SPRING BULBS: Lift, examine and store only good strong healthy tulips and daffodils etc. I personally do not store mine. I immediately lift, and re-plant them into my wild garden, give them a good feed with a potash fertilizer and wait for the surprises to come next spring. I like to mix the colours up as I don’t want my wild garden to look too contrived. After all it is supposed to be wild! This is not always successful, but I’ve had quite a lot of really good spring flowers from this method. I then plant all new bulbs in my patio pots in Autumn and then repeat the following year to increase my collection. A thought for your own wild garden maybe?
VEGETABLES: Plant out leeks, late Brussels sprouts, spring broccoli, winter cabbages and it’s not too late for a crop of spinach or lettuce. Continue to feed and water your tomatoes, not forgetting to pinch out the side shoots. The bush varieties should be left to develop into a bush plant. Water, feed and pick your runner beans. Start to lift and store onions. Sow winter radishes and cut cucumbers as they begin to swell.
Enjoy your summer gardening and with all the above jobs done, look forward to a more relaxing August. You will have earned it!
June Cynthia is a Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medallist and award-winning florist and gardening expert