Gardening Tips for July
July gardening can be highly rewarding, with your garden in full bloom and crops swelling beautifully. It’s a joy to do the gardening surrounded by colour, but, as our resident garden guru, Rich Redman says, it's important to get all the necessary jobs done to keep it looking its best both this month and beyond.
So we've written up all the gardening tips for July that you need to keep your garden in top condition.
July Gardening Top Tip: Remove Fading Flowers on Roses
Cut back spent rose blooms with some pruners to ensure a longer flowering period. Prune them back to a pair of outward-facing buds.
If you have wild roses in your garden, leave the flowers as they are so as to get a beautiful display of hips in the autumn.
Beds and Borders
After months of growth, beds and borders can look a bit on the tired side by the middle of summer, so Rich recommends to fill in any gaps by planting colourful late-flowering plants, like anemone, crocosmia, rudbeckia, aster, coreopsis and canna lilies. Another option is to add some low-cost yet lovely coloured bedding plants.
Get some late-flowering bulbs in the ground to provide colourful shows in the months to come. Sternbergia Lutea is a stunning yellow flowering plant, while Crocus Speciosus is a striking white with delicate blue veins. If you want something more sensational, Colchicum ‘Water Lily’ is a good choice – it delights the eye with double pink-purple flowers similar to water lilies, as the name suggests, that bloom just above ground level.
Tie dahlia shoots to supporting canes to prevent an early stop to growth and ensure you get a late display.
Stop weeds in their tracks underground and trap moisture in by covering the soil with a 7.5cm layer of bark mulch over borders.
Keep your borders looking spick and span by getting rid of lacklustre leaves from early blossoming perennials. Alchemilla Mollis, peonies and some hardy geraniums will grow a lovely set of new leaves that will look great for the rest of the season.
Give asters and late-flowering perennials a helping hand by scattering a general fertiliser over the soil and raking it in gently.
In the Kitchen Garden
Keep trimming herbs to make sure you have a regular supply of lovely aromatic leaves. Remove flowering shoots from parsley, sorrel, marjoram and sage, and pinch back shoots of thyme and rosemary to encourage further growth.
Leafy vegetables make tasty food for caterpillars, so get rid of any you spot on your crops. Look underneath leaves too as eggs may have been laid there ready to unleash the next round of pests.
Water potato plants frequently to prevent the leaves from wilting during dry spells.
Mound up soil around the base of sweetcorn to cover any exposed roots and give better anchorage.
Look out for conical yellow eggs laid by cabbage white butterflies and squash them before they turn into leaf-munching caterpillars.
Ensure a bigger bounty of runner beans by pinching out the tips of the plant when they grow to the tops of their supports. This will help flower-carrying side shoots to grow further down the plant.
With a pair of secateurs, prune summer fruiting strawberries. Once the final fruit has been picked, bundle the foliage together and cut it to 7.5cm above the crown of the plant. Fresh leaves will appear and encourage the development of next year’s flower buds.
Some fruit will fall from eating apple trees early in the summer but they might need additional thinning to encourage bigger, better fruits. Pick any damaged apples, leaving one every 15cm.
Minimise the chance of grapes being ruined by fungal diseases by thinning out bunches as they develop. Pick off every third grape to give more room for the others to swell.
Additional Gardening Tips for July
Prune fast-growing conifer hedges to halt unruly growth. Begin by cutting the top flat and then start work on the sides, leaving the top slightly narrower than the base to ensure all the leaves get a good amount of light.
When it’s hot, water will evaporate from ponds. Refresh pond levels by topping them up weekly with rainwater from a water butt, or water from the mains. If there are fish in your pond, use cold mains water little and often to prevent a shock to livestock.
If you have a lot of clover in your lawn and dislike the look, spray it with herbicide. However, clover is great for bees so it may be worth keeping some to help struggling pollinators, which are declining in number fast.
Strip leaves from the lower third of bamboo canes by snipping them off with a pair of pruners or snapping off side branches. The attractive canes are often hidden under foliage, so show them off! While you’re doing this July garden job, thin out bunched-up clumps by cutting back dead, and some weaker shoots, to ground level.
Neaten up wisterias by tying any side shoots you want to keep for filling gaps on walls or trellis, and then prune the remaining shoots, leaving four leaves.
When all your July gardening jobs are done, your garden will be looking more beautiful than ever both now and in the coming months. Now you can sit back and enjoy the colourful Eden you’ve created – until next month! Remember to come back for more gardening tips each month to keep your garden looking great.