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Gardening Jobs for July



This is often one of the hottest months of the year and a great time to sit out and enjoy your garden, but as ever there are things to do, here a few thoughts for the month ahead.


Keep plants looking good by regularly dead-heading, and you'll enjoy a longer display of blooms. Make sure you keep new plants well-watered, using grey water where possible, and hoe off weeds, which thrive in the sunshine.


For many of us the lawn is the centrepiece to the garden that sets off everything else. As long as there is no drought, it's worth feeding the lawn regularly.


More importantly, during dry weather, raise the blades on your lawn mower to allow the grass to grow a little bit longer. This will keep it greener and help it retain moisture. Although, don't panic if your grass does turn brown as it will soon green up again when the rain returns.


Deadhead bedding plants and repeat-flowering perennials, to ensure continuous flowering.


Water containers, pots and tubs and new plants if dry, but be water-wise, Watering is one of the most important jobs when growing plants in containers. Remember to water plants in the evening when it will not immediately evaporate and avoid water droplets from heating up and damaging the leaves.


Lift Onions:  watch for when about two thirds of onion tops are falling over, then push the rest down to soften the neck as sometimes they can develop a long stem and a neck that doesn’t dry very well. You don’t need to wait until the tops go yellow before lifting, but you’re looking for the bulbs to begin to change colour. 


Cut back early flowering perennials to the ground and they will send up fresh leaves and maybe the bonus of some extra late-summer flowers.  Give them a boost after pruning with a good soak of water and some tomato feed. Exploit plants' desperate need to set seed by removing blooms as they fade. This will encourage them to produce more flowers to replace them. 


Dead-head roses to keep them looking tidy, although if your rose produces attractive seed pods ("hips") you may want to leave the flowers in place. Keep an eye out for rust on rose leaves. If spotted, prune out badly affected foliage and/or spray with a fungicide, such as Rose Clear Ultra.


Give roses a boost as the first flush of flowers fades by feeding them with a rose food. Such as Top Rose. Gently hoe it into the soil around the plant and water in. 


Cut lavender for drying, choosing newly opened flowers for the best fragrance. Hang up in a cool, dark place to bring the beautiful scent into your home.


Remove some of the woody growth from established shrubs such as Spiraea and Weigela to the ground once they have finished flowering to create an open structure.


Undertake corrective pruning of deciduous Magnolia trees, if required.


Prune Honeysuckle, Wisteria and ornamental vines by removing flexible side shoots at 20cm from where they join the main stem to prevent them getting out of hand.


Watch out for clematis wilt. Classic symptoms are wilting leaves and discoloured leaves/stems. If your plants are affected, remove the affected parts and dispose with your household waste.


Feed and water sweet peas regularly, picking the flowers every 2-3 days and removing seed pods to prolong flowering and treat dahlias to a high-potassium liquid feed.


If you have them, feed hanging baskets and cut back straggly and tired growth to revive the display.


Pick your last lots of rhubarb and remove any flower spikes that start to form down to the base.


Pick runner beans regularly to leave room for developing pods and encourage more to develop.

Pick courgettes before they become marrows.


Sow beetroot, carrots, dwarf French beans, lettuce, radishes and runner beans outdoors.


Sow a last batch of peas and dwarf beans before mid-July for an autumn crop.


Pinch out any side shoots on your tomatoes and remove any leaves below the lowest fruit trusses to allow good air circulation.


Trim new growth of gooseberries in the early part of the month if not carried out last month.


Check gooseberry bush leaves for sawfly larvae, removing by hand or by spraying with water.


Feed your lawn with a fast-acting summer feed, especially if you did not feed it in the spring. Spreading by hand works fine but you'll find a spreader gives a more even application. Feeding after mowing not before will prevent the fertiliser being disturbed once on the surface. Feeding the lawn after it has rained (or after watering) works best as fertiliser is absorbed into moist ground more easily. All modern fertilisers are designed to be pet and child friendly.


Baby hedgehogs will be starting to emerge any day now in the search for extra food. Leave out water and meat-based dog or cat food (chicken flavour goes down well, but not fish!) to help them fatten up before going into hibernation in late autumn.

 

I wish you happy gardening 

 

Rog

 

The above is written by Rog Leppard of English Cottage Chic Gardening. I am professional gardener and gardening writer based in North Baddesley, Romsey, Hampshire.

Text: 07437 013546 

Website: www.english-cottage-chic.co.uk