The hum of lawnmowers has arrived, the buzz of bees enchants your ears and your garden is as lush as ever. But in high summer, there is lots to be done to keep your space shipshape. Read our top gardening tips for July and make sure your garden is kept at its best for the most glorious time of the year.
Plant a patio allotment
What can you plant in July? Well, in a nutshell: lots. Snacking on home-grown treats as you wander around the garden is one of the delights of summer, and with fruit and veg plants on sale all season long, it’s never been easier. Raised growing tables such as the VegTrug, which are ideal for small spaces like patios and decks, have soared in popularity – simply assemble, fill with John Innes No.2 compost and you’re ready to plant a mini-allotment. These ingenious planters are ideal for sweet peppers, miniature bush and trailing tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, radish, chilli peppers, herbs and much more.
Sow cottage garden favourites
Fashions come and go in gardening but none eclipse the enduring popularity of cottage gardens. July is a perfect month to start hardy biennials – plants that flower the year after sowing – and that includes many of gardeners’ cottage garden favourites. Consider the beautiful, nostalgic blooms of foxgloves, the traditional cottage-style blooms of Canterbury bells and the late-spring glory provided by forget-me-not. Plus, the cheery blooms of wallflowers can be direct-sown into border soil now for a riot of colour next spring.
Keep lawns looking lush
If you love lazing on your lawn during hot summer days this is one of the more important gardening tips for July. Not only do these green oases help to keep temperatures cool when the mercury soars, but grass is nature’s natural reservoir, soaking up rainwater when heat sparks thunderstorms. Lawns play a vital role for garden biodiversity, too, so keeping turf in tip-top condition is essential when temperatures rise. Rotating spike sprinklers and vortex sprinklers prevent parched grass while large expanses of lawn can be kept well-watered using a traditional oscillating sprinkler, even if water pressure is low. Switch sprinklers on first thing in the morning or just before dusk, when less moisture will be lost to evaporation. Need to green-up turf in time for a barbecue or party? Applying a soluble lawn food when conditions are moist will result in a richer lawn in days.
Banish weeds the easy way
soLet’s face it, we’d all rather be relaxing with a glass of wine in hand on a summer’s evening than bending down to do some weed control. Laying anti-weed fabric around young plants will give weeds the heave-ho without any hard work while allowing rainwater to penetrate down to the root zone – while weed-pulling gadgets will pluck established weeds from the soil, roots and all, preventing re-growth. Where weeds are blighting patios, driveways and gravelled areas, a ready-to-use, fast-acting weedkiller will banish ugly invaders within 24 hours. It’s vital to tackle weeds before they flower and set seed, or infestations will rapidly become worse.
Dead-head fading blooms
Henry VIII may have cried “off with her head” but thankfully the concept takes on a less sinister meaning in the garden! Allow fading flower heads to set seed and it’s game over, with displays prematurely curtailed. Dead-heading is the act of snipping off spent blooms, encouraging plants to repeat flower and keeping the show on the road for longer. Bedding plants such as geraniums, marigolds, pansies and petunias respond well to having tired flowers pinched off, while a pair of secateurs is vital for snipping spent blooms from border favourites such as sweet peas, roses, lilies and dahlias before seed pods emerge.
Banish slugs and snails
Slugs and snails make a beeline for flowers and veg at the best of times, but when a summer downpour strikes, molluscs think that Christmas has come early. Keep precious plants safe by pre-empting attacks using organic slug and snail killer pellets – not only will they effectively reduce damage but pellets are shower proof while nasty slime trails won’t be visible after slugs have taken the bait. Plants that are highly susceptible to slug and snail attack, such as hostas, can have their defences bolstered with the creation of physical barriers using Organic Slug Defence Gel. Slugs and snails target container plants, too, but not if copper tape is placed around pots, planters and raised beds, as the tape’s static electric charge persuades molluscs to slither off elsewhere. On the subject of pests, don’t let aphids build up on veg crops and flowers – blast them away using a hosepipe at the first sign of trouble.
Plant up a quirky feature
The last of our gardening tips for July is to add a quirky feature. They add an atmosphere of eccentricity to gardens – injecting a touch of fun is guaranteed to bring a smile to visitors’ faces and makes an ideal July project for the family. A teapot planter will ramp-up your garden’s Alice in Wonderland appeal and make a perfect home for bedding plants, alpines and flowering bulbs– may all your gardening wishes come true!