“When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, there is always the garden.” Minnie Aumonier
July is a great time to be out and about in the garden, both working the ground and enjoying the sights and sounds of early summer
Mulching borders can help retain moisture and keep down the weeds – this will save a lot of work.
Prune June-flowering shrubs such as Philadelphus and Weigela after flowering.
Deadhead and cut back oriental poppies after flowering. Cutting them close to ground level will stimulate new foliage.
Deadhead flower borders regularly to prolong flowering. Disbud and dead-head dahlias if growing for large bloom.
Plants with a carpet-like growth habit, e.g. some alpines, can become patchy, with central areas dying off. These patches can be in-filled with gritty compost, to encourage re-growth.
Cut back delphiniums and geraniums after the first flush of flowers to encourage a second flowering period. Feed after cutting them back.
Keep tubs, hanging baskets and alpine troughs well-watered. Use collected rainwater or recycled grey water wherever possible.
Cutting back plants in baskets followed by feeding can encourage new growth and help revive tired displays.
Rhododendrons can be lightly pruned after flowering. More severe pruning should wait until the following early spring.
Prune deciduous magnolias once the plant is in full leaf. If this is done in winter, when the tree is dormant, dieback can occur, and pruning in late winter or spring can result in bleeding. Midsummer is therefore recommended.
Divide clumps of bearded iris.
Remember to deadhead roses if they are repeat-flowering types, to encourage more flowers.
Clip evergreen hedges such as Privet, Box and Yew whilst they are in active growth.
Look out for tall, flowering stalks on established bamboos and remove them as flowering can weaken the plants.
Ensure newly planted trees and shrubs do not dry out.
Autumn-flowering bulbs, such as autumn crocuses, Amaryllis and Nerine, can be planted now.
Keep mowing regularly, except during drought. In hot weather, set the mower at a slightly higher level than normal for early summer. This can prevent the lawn drying in hot weather.
New areas of grass, sown or turfed in the spring, will need extra watering to keep them going through their first summer.
Top up ponds and water features if necessary – a spray attachment on the hose will aerate the water and help the fish.
Any pumps on water features should be left on during sultry nights, as oxygen levels are lower in such conditions.
Clean and top up birdbaths regularly, especially in warm dry weather. Keeping a birdbath clean helps to prevent birds catching diseases.