July Gardener

Aeonium zwartkop

Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’

 

July 15 gardener

Summer officially commenced on June 21st and let’s hope some decent weather does as well!

There are many jobs to do but we should make the most of this special time of the year to relax and enjoy all our hard work and efforts over the past few months.

Gardens look wonderful at the moment with trees, shrubs, borders, containers and hanging baskets all now in full bloom and with the emergence of so many magnificent flowering plants that we all forget about in Winter.  All those fascinating seasonal plants with their amusing names such as “Beauty berry” (Kolwitzia), “Sneezewort” (Achillea), “Goatsbeard” (Aruncus ).   Too many names to retain but an enjoyable task to look up the names when visiting local garden centres and plants sales in so many of the lovely places in the south-west to visit during the summer months.

Important Jobs to do in July and August

  • Warmer weather catches us on the hop when we get a dry period and suddenly find the soil, containers and hanging baskets drying out very quickly.  A good idea is to add water crystals with compost and soil to containers and hanging baskets.  They produce water filled jelly which lasts a considerable time and makes a big difference in hot weather. Compost and manure on its own dries out fast so some loamy soil will be required which will be a better water retaining combination.  Newly planted trees and shrubs MUST be kept well watered for a year!
  • Mulching with compost and especially manure for nitrogen demanding plants – such as Roses – and some vegetables Brassicas (but not Legumes: peas) is recommended, but do keep watered. Mulching also has the effect of retaining moisture in all growing media.  You will see very rapidly the improvement in your plants well-being, it’s very encouraging.
  • Lawns will rapidly dry out, even with some rain which barely penetrates roots, so one thorough watering is proven to be more effective than an occasional sprinkle with the watering can.  Add high nitrogen liquid feed according to manufacturer’s label.
  • Remove spring bulbs and leaves but keep stored bulbs dry and lightly dust with sulphur if any sign of disease.
  • Clear ponds and aquatic areas of surface congested oxygen plants/weeds now after a tough winter. Remove excess silt and general detritus and check and trim water plants and their containers.
  • Dead heading flowers can be a bit laborious but well worth the effort as it directs the plant’s energy to continue flowering rather than going to seed too early.
  • Plants and their families recommended in July–Aug. Pinks (Foxglove family).  Lily (Amaryllis). Iris (wet or bearded), Sisyirincha, Dierama, Tigridia (all Iris family).  Euphorbia for fragrant foliage (Euphorbia family). Annual Pelargonium (Geranium family).
  • Harvest Summer vegetables carrots, beans, onions and shallots, early potatoes. Sow winter brassicas and winter salads .

Just enjoy Summer.