This has to be in the top three months of the year in my opinion: it has my birthday, my favourite flower show, ‘The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show’; and the garden is just full of colour. There is still plenty to do to keep all the plants looking at their best. Watering regularly is a must. If you let your tubs or hanging baskets dry out so that the soil comes away from the sides, when you do water them the water just ends up running away. Keep the soil moist by regular watering, which in the long run will save on water. It is best to water early in the morning or early evening.
Bedding plants, perennials and roses all need dead-heading to encourage further flowering. Feeding your tubs and hanging baskets every two weeks (as well as the dead-heading) will provide you with colour right until the end of the summer and throughout into autumn.
If you have any deciduous Magnolias that need trimming or a tidy up then July is the best month to do this, but don’t go too hard. Keep an eye on your climbers to see if they need tying up and look out for ‘clematis wilt’ whilst you are doing this. The symptoms are wilting leaves and a black discolouration on stems and leaves. If you have any affected growth, trim it off but don’t put this into your compost, put it in the household waste to stop the spread of the disease.
I have been busy in the old vegetable garden and am now creating a new vegetable area, which will mainly be built out of recycled materials. My aim is to only spend a small amount of money on this project. I hope to have photos of this in future issues. In the meantime, the tomatoes are growing fast and the side shoots need pinching out. I always find ones I have missed! Cut off leaves below the bottom truss (fruiting stem where tomatoes grow) as this will help prevent diseases by improving air circulation. I also trim off some of the other leaves to let in more light too. Feed plants weekly to produce full, juicy, ripe fruits. Pick courgettes when they are small, this will encourage more fruit and in my opinion they have more flavour. Pick runner beans regularly too, so they don’t become stringy. If you get a bumper crop you can slice, blanch and freeze on a tray for delicious runners later in the year. Other items that are good for freezing are your herbs; if you have a lot of good growth; cut back and freeze the trimmings and don’t forget to label what they are!.
Other jobs for this month:
• Feed peppers, chillis and cucumbers with high-potash fertilizer.
• Harvest garlic this month when tops start turning yellow.
• Nip out tips of aubergine plants when 5-6 fruits have set.
• Check cabbage for butterfly eggs, if you find any- squash them.
• Keep control of blackfly and slugs.
• Turn over compost bins.
• Look after the good insects that feast on greenfly (ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies).
• Divide bearded iris if you have large clumps.
• Prune wisteria’s whippy side shoots down to 5 leaves from main stem.
Enjoy your garden!