July 2015 in the garden

The gardening year has caught up quickly after the very cool spring and everything is looking dry. June has been very hot here at Erddig and plants have become stressed. Hopefully we will get some rain soon, or the borders and lawns will frizzle up.

So make sure you water your summer bedding, hanging baskets and pots regularly, morning is the best time, they may last then until the evening without drying out. Give them another watering later in the evening. If you can, occasionally take them down and give them a good soak, adding liquid fertilizer at the same time. Water droplets on leaves can act like a magnifying glass. Try to water the compost, not over the leaves, to avoid the sun scorching them.

How about sowing some Sweet Williams to flower next summer? Now is the time. They make wonderful, scented, cut flowers too. It is also time to sow Wallflowers and later in the month Pansies and Forget-me-nots for next spring. Perennial herbaceous plants can also be raised from seed sown now. Early spring perennials, like Polyanthus, Pulmonarias, and Irises, can also be increased by division after flowering.

Roses have looked great recently. Bellis Brothers has a good selection in flower now, a good opportunity to choose new additions. Try them for scent and colour.

Don’t forget to dead head your roses. Depending on their vigour, prune them back about 20 centimetres, to a strong leaf after the flowers fade. There may even be a young shoot just starting to break around there. It may also be time to prune climbing roses, if they are the older single flush type. Look out for black spot, mildew and rose rust too, apply a rose fungicide to prevent further infection, or spread.
Pick Sweet pea flowers regularly too and don’t let them go to seed, or they will stop flowering.
Late spring flowering shrubs, like Philadelphus and Weigela, can be pruned straight after flowering. Hedge cutting starts in earnest this month too.

If the weather gets drier, raise the cutting height of the lawnmower and grass cuttings can be allowed to stay on the lawn.
In the vegetable garden, potatoes will need earthing up. Leeks and winter greens can be planted out. Fruit, especially Apples will be dropping fruitlets now. This is a natural occurance, so don’t worry, there will be plenty of fruit left to harvest later. I’m also expecting good crops of plums and damsons this year.

Sow regular crops of salads. I sow a tub of baby leaf salad or rocket too, as they are handy by the kitchen door to grab a bunch of leaves quickly. We have a herb tub too. Boost tomatoes with liquid feed. And look to getting the best from your vegetable plots to save the cost of buying from the supermarkets.