July in your Garden
Friday, 14 July 2017 | Alison
Is it because June was over so quickly that July is all of a sudden here? The mid-summer solstice has been and gone and some rather unhelpful folk keep mentioning that the nights are bound to be drawing in soon. Well I don’t see it like that, as there are plenty of daylight hours to garden and the garden is in full swing with a lot of plants to be enjoyed this month and of course there are always jobs to do too.
So here is the Brookside Nursery Top Ten Tips for this month in your garden……
*If you grow sweet peas, the best thing you can do is keep picking them regularly and take off any stalks with seed heads forming. Tie them in gently too as they grow up the stakes, as the stalks snap easily if you are trying to untangle a mass of them.
*July is the ideal month to lift and divide Irises. As clumps of Iris get older they tend to flower around the outside and become bare in the centre. This is a clear sign they need to be divided. Trim back the foliage and dig up the whole clump if possible. Divide the rhizomes and discard shrivelled ones and replant the healthy plumped up rhizomes so that the tops of the rhizomes are just above ground level.
*Hanging baskets should be looking fantastic by now so keep watering regularly and giving them a weekly feed using a high potassium fertiliser. Deadheading spent flowers will put strength into producing new blooms rather than producing seeds.
*Early summer flowering shrubs and bushes can be given a good prune if necessary, to keep them in shape, giving them plenty of time to regrow to form next year’s flower buds. These include Lilac, Philadelphus, Weigelia, and Rhododendrons. Winter flowering Viburnum Tinus can also be pruned back in July. Remember the three D’s with pruning and remove dead, diseased and damaged stems and branches.
*Once hardy herbaceous geraniums have had their first flowering and begin to look straggly and flat, it is time to take the garden shears to them, cutting the stems back to around 6” in height. Remove any weak stems and shape with secateurs. The plants will soon regrow and should produce another flush of flowers later in the summer.
*Soft fruits like strawberries and raspberries can be harvested as soon as they ripen and are best picked on a dry day. Placing straw under ripening strawberries can protect them from slugs as well as soil splashes when watering.
*Tomatoes should be fed with a liquid feed once a week once they produce trusses of fruits. Keep removing side shoots as you want less leaves and more flowers and fruits. Keep humidity levels higher in the greenhouse by watering crops well and also give the base of the greenhouse a soak so humidity can rise during the higher day time temperatures. These can both help to prevent powdery mildew attacks.
*Feed roses with a proprietary rose feed when you dead head, to encourage more flowers. Once a head of roses has flowered prune back to an outward facing leaf. A new shoot will soon be seen.
*July is prime holiday time so either make sure you have an automatic watering system set up or enlist another gardening minded neighbour to come in and water every other day. Try and leave pots in a shady spot and group them together to make watering easier. You can also leave plants soaking in water troughs in shady spots if help is not to hand.
* Keep bird baths topped up with fresh water and wildlife ponds too if the water levels begin to get low. Remove dead and decaying water lily leaves and faded flowers and other pond debris to prevent them sinking to the bottom, polluting the pond.
July is often a great month to visit other gardens that are open under the National Garden Scheme or villages that have Open Garden Days so keep an eye open in your area and take advantage of seeing other gardens and speaking to like-minded gardeners who are always willing to impart their knowledge and experience.
Have fun and enjoy your garden!