Garden Tips for July

July is the season of high summer when the garden really comes alive, so you’re either going to have weeks of enjoyment over the coming months or weeks of back breaking work trying to tame and control the it.

The Garden
• Be water-wise, water your plants only and during the cooler parts of the day to avoid absorption and possible scorching. In this warm time of year, regular watering or spraying is essential for abundant flowers and growth so never let the soil dry out too much.
• Flowering shrubs can be pruned as soon as they have flowered. Cut back branches that have flowered to a new shoot. If there is no new shoot, cut them back to the ground.
• All potted plants need watering daily and in very warm weather, perhaps even twice a day. Don’t forget your hanging baskets, as evaporation is much greater and they will dry out faster than any other planters
• Hanging baskets need soluble plant food each week. Annuals, in particular, need a lot of nutrients whether in baskets, tubs or pots.
• Deadhead plants after flowering as this will encourage them to flower again later in the season.
• Hoe borders regularly to keep down weeds and if there are getting out of control you could put down a mulch to help.
• Shade greenhouses to keep them cool.
• Keep an eye out for blackspot and mildew especially on roses. However, if you are going to spray them, try to spray during the evening, when most insect activity has stopped
• This is the time to shorten the new shoots of Wisteria that are not required for the framework, to about six inches in length.
• If you haven't added any fertilizer to your borders, it is not too late to do so.
• Don't wait to support and tie-up tall growing plant as an unexpected downpour can easily flatten them.
• Provide supports for any tall plants/shrubs such as Dahlias, Gladioli

The Lawn
• The lawn needs regular mowing this month. During long sunny spells the grass should not be cut too short otherwise it is in danger of scorching (turning yellow).
• For the best result, give your lawn some fertilizer every month. Choose an overcast day for this, again to prevent yellow patches.
• In long dry spells, your lawn will need regular spraying. Give it a good soak (a few hours) once a week. This is much more effective than 15 minutes every day.

Fruit and Veg
• If you have pruned your fruit trees during the winter, by May and June lots of suckers (small twigs that grow straight up) will have appeared. Indeed, where you have pruned particularly hard, entire brooms can spring up. These shoots take up a lot of water and nutrients that could be used better elsewhere. July is good time to remove these suckers.
• Treat your fruit trees to some extra trace elements and minerals this month such as seaweed extract.
• Thin out fruits from Apple, Pear and Plum. By removing the smaller ones the remaining fruits get a better chance to develop.
• Start sowing summer vegetables fennel and, looking ahead to winter, different kinds of cabbage
• Gives strawberries a weekly dose of soluble fertilizer high in potassium. When picking ripe strawberries pick the crown attached as the fruits will keep longer and the plants are less prone to fungal infections.
• Herbs like dill, parsley and thyme can be picked and dried or frozen into ice cubes.

Containers & Hanging Baskets

Containers & Hanging Baskets

Many plants are ideally suited for growing in all sorts of containers, although the most often used are bedding plants.However, plants such as shrubs, herbaceous perennials, herbs, climbers, alpines, bulbs, heathers, roses, dwarf fruit trees,strawberries and conifers should also be considered, either on their own or in combinations to provide all year round colour.

Containers are easy to maintain and can be moved around to give a fresh look to the garden. Select a good balance of upright and trailing plants according to the shape and size of the container. Remember that Summer containers can be replanted for Autumn and Winter colour.

Wherever you use them, containers will help break up the harsh lines of patios, walls, steps and paths.

A wide range of containers are available including:

Hanging Baskets
Half Barrels
Window Boxes
Wall Baskets

Plant recommendations

containers in sun
containers in shade

In a selection of materials such as clay, stone, terracotta, wood, plastic and wire. The shape and size of the container will influence the choice of plants, with larger plants such as shrubs and climbers requiring more space for the roots to grow.

Planting your container

1. Place small stones or broken pieces of polystyrene or pots onto the bottom of the container to cover the drainage holes.
2. Lining the sides of the container with bubble plastic will protect plants against frost and reduce water loss.
3. Add good quality compost so that plants, when placed on it, are about 3cm (1in) below the rim of their container. Work the potting compost in around the sides of the plants and level off. Make sure you water well.
4. Keep the container off the ground by placing small blocks underneath. This will prevent a vacuum and ensure proper drainage.

Looking after your containers

Never allow containers to dry out. It may be necessary to water in early morning and evening in hot weather and they must be watered in Autumn and Winter if required.

Feed regularly during Spring and Summer. Use a top dressing of granular fertiliser in Spring, followed by a liquid feed once week during the main growing season.

Remove dead flower heads, weed regularly and keep a close watch for pests and diseases which should be treated according to manufacturer's control recommendations.

Hanging baskets

These provide eye-catching displays and help to break up harsh architectural lines. Use plenty of trailing plants so that the base of the basket is well covered once established. Use wall-mounted baskets if hanging space is not available.

How to plant a hanging basket

1. Use a bucket or pot for support while planting and make sure plants are well-watered before starting. Place a plastic disc or old saucer on top of the moss in the base before adding compost to help retain moisture.

2. Line the basket with moss to halfway up the sides, or use a liner. Half fill with potting compost containing water retaining granules and slow-release fertiliser which should last the whole growing season.

3. Plant three foliage and three flowering plants through the sides of the basket. If using moss, then line to the top of the basket and fill to the top with compost.

4. Plant a tall plant in the centre andplant three foliage and threeflowering plants round the top edge of the basket. For larger baskets simply use more plants.

5. Once planted, water thoroughly, allow to soak and repeat. Protect from strong sunlight for two or three days and protect from frost. Dead-head regularly, water frequently and liquid feed towards the end of the flowering season.