Iris Jardine advises you on how to get the most out of your garden and enjoy the summer months
This is the time of year to really appreciate your garden and to start using it as an outdoor room. Try experimenting with lighting, especially candles. It is now that all your hard work should be showing you glorious results with a great fusion of colour.
Summer is also synonymous with scent. If you have planted lilies, garden pinks, old-fashioned stocks, tobacco plants and violas, they will all give off lovely perfumes. Move pots of scented flowers closer to your sitting area. This is the time when roses, clematis, honeysuckle and lavender are all at their best.
Plant up pots with 'instant colour'. Asters, dahlias, lavender, gazanias and chrysanthemums are all ideal, and will last until the first frosts. For a more minimalist
look use hardy palms, bamboos and ornamental
By July, summer bedding should already be in place and
filling out to provide an ongoing display. Annuals, plants that bloom and last for one season only, can be useful for filling in any gaps.
Take notes/photographs for reference for the autumn or next spring of the plants that are in the wrong place or have colour clashes so that these
can be moved.
During prolonged dry spells, it may be necessary to water shallow-rooted bedding plants. The application of a liquid fertiliser will extend the flowering period as well as regular deadheading. Hopefully, consid~ration has been given to their arrangement so that taller plants do not block out those that are lower growing.
Marguerites lend themselves to filling in gaps left by earlyflowering perennials. Grow cornflowers where plants are allowed to self-seed and where the emphasis is on the natural.
Unfortunately, this is also the time when hedges need continual trimming, lawns require mowing at least once a week unless there is a drought, and weeds need killing off. Annual weeds such as meadow grass, chickweed and Shepherd's purse should be removed before they can seed themselves. This can
either be done by handpulling, hoeing or by burning with a contact weedkiller. Perennial weeds such as
dandelions, field bindweed, ground elder and creeping thistle survive by means of underground stems or roots. These should be dug out preferably with the root.
Remove leaves regularly to starve them or use a translocated weedkiller, such as Glyphosate.
Spring bulbs, such as daffodils and tulips, will have now died down. These can be
lifted, cleaned, and stored in a cool, dry place for replanting
in the autumn. Towards the
end of the month, go through your rose beds and borders to
deadhead and tidy bushes. This should encourage repeat flowering.
July is the month for propagating by layering for large shrubs such as rhododendrons. Make an upward cut just below a joint on a lower stem or shoot of
the plant. The incision should open the stem to the centre when it should be placed in contact with the earth. Peg it down and pile soil over, firming well. The outer end of the shoot, beyond the cut,
should be trained upwards. When the layer has rooted, it should be cut away from the parent plant and potted up or planted out.
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