Gardening is a really pleasure when you see the fruits of your labour. July is certainly a time when our gardens are at their best and there’s still plenty you can do to keep them tip top…
While we’re having such dry weather, make sure the lawn mower blades are on a high setting. Most lawns will only need mowing fortnightly now. If the grass in your garden does look rather dead, don’t panic! It will recover surprisingly quickly once we’ve had a few days of rain.
Water obviously becomes scarce in dry weather so try to only use brown water on your lawn ie washing up or bath water, in order to preserve this precious commodity for essentials.
Our pots, baskets, tomato plants and fruit trees, however, will need plenty of water. Watering rose bushes, clematis and honeysuckle will help discourage powdery mildew. If you do have a problem, however, you can buy a spray that helps combat powdery mildew and black spot.
Keeping agapanthus, rhododendrons and camellias well watered now, will produce a good show of flowers next season.
If you have a good selection of flowering plants in your garden, deadheading is a something that needs doing regularly. Roses, of course, need deadheading in order to encourage more flowers.
If you have the time and are organised enough, it is a lovely idea to collect seeds from the heads of some of the spent flowers. I’m afraid I never manage to do this but instead, just sprinkle them on the ground as I go.
Clearing dead leaves left from bluebells or grape hyacynths etc is another little job that helps spruce the garden up a bit. It is, however, advisable not to be too tidy. I leave some leaves under shrubs where they don’t show too much or at the back of the beds. This encourages insects which in turn feed other wildlife and they will eventually turn into gorgeous soil.
Continue to tie back stems on climbing and rambing roses. These will produce flowers next season. Tie back the new long stems of your blackberry plants. These will be the ones that produce fruit next year so don’t cut them off.
Evergreen hedges need trimming quite often now and most hedge trimmings are excellent to mix with grass cuttings in the compost bin. Conifers can be cut now as well but don’t add these to the compost.
When weeds have been allowed to run amock, even for just a few years, they will have dropped hundreds of seeds so will keep coming at this time of the year. But TRY NOT TO LOOSE HEART! Keep digging or pulling them up and you really will see a difference next year. Sorry I keep saying it but it’s really true!!
If you manage to get to them (the weeds) when they are small, before they’ve flowered or produced seed heads, you can uproot them with a hoe or some other tool. Leave them on top of the ground and in this dry weather, they should just decompose. Keep checking those bits of bindweed that you’re tackling. Cut them back again, to a couple of inches long where necessary and possible and spray them carefully fortnightly if you can.
It is a good idea to give your birdbath a good wash with a mild detergent now and again and of course, keep it filled with clean, fresh water.