July August Gardener

Clematis Polish Spirit

Let’s enjoy this summer weather that at least is moderate heat this year but moisture retention and protection from mid summer sun will be required with adding water crystals to hanging baskets and containers and if possible some lawn watering Feeding with a high nitrogen –greening such as Miracle Grow (UK ) granules may at least help to slow down the severe browning effect of the sun on grass.  Last year my south facing lawn in 34 deg for two months and little to no rain turned completely brown and is only now  recovering.  I sadly lost one Prunus kanzan tree that died very suddenly despite regular watering!  Can’t win them all with nature ruling and a bit of climate change on the way!

Soil management is vital

The most severe problem I’ve had and continue to have is trying to keep my garden soil in a good, soft and diggable loamy condition and well drained.   It requires considerable added organic compost, manure and if possible leaf mould.  If your soil is getting hard it’s a sign of too much clay which withholds moisture in warmer weather Without enough sand for drainage and organic matter for water retention there is a big problem .  These soil inbalances need to be addressed in March and October when it is easier to dig in organic matter and sand to much softer soil rather than rock hard soil in midsummer.  Remember plants can die if the roots cannot move to search for the soil stored NPK nutrients and moisture and a small matter of oxygen for vital respiration .’ Sea weed ‘types for soil improvement are known to be beneficial and also have a wide range of micronutrients mainly in addition to the main nitrogen ,green leaf building ,phosphoros and calcium ,plant cell building and strengthening and of course potassium for ‘flower power ‘boosting .

Ranunculus

Ref  Science for the Gardener Book  Chapter 7   Digging for Victory  pps 67-83

Colours are magnificent and widest ranging at this time of the year with a good summer range of Blues – Campanulas, Linums , Lavandula    Oranges – Geum, Reds and White  Pelargonium – geraniums – also just go and enjoy all the great gardening efforts made in larger open to the public private and public gardens (N Trust, RHS etc) all  looking radiant this year with lawns still green.

Young Gardener showing interest
Young Gardener enjoying the forest leaves

 See what plants you can identify it’s great fun out on a walk with a friend and exchange guesses. Take a Pocket plant book with you perhaps.

Kitchen Gardens are now in full swing and Leguminous Pea and Bean vegetables and tomatoes under glass, Cucurbitaceae  Courgettes etc.  Mint Mentha family herbs all will grow  better to what appears to be a much drier July rather than the dreadful disappointing wet cold  June that was not at all helpful for pollinators.  There are many specialist editorials on vegetable and fruit growing in the  media and the South west England Country Gardener Magazine (UK ) has excellent vegetable growing contributors to match the different growing months.

Any Science based garden queries do contact me on

tony@scienceforthe gardener.com  that includes international website www.scienceforthegardener  and Science for the Gardener Book readers  all very welcome .

Best wishes

Tony Arnold MCIHort