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Thursday, 30 June 2016
I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds and bowers: Of April, May, of June and July flowers.Robert Herrick 1591-1674
Admire, cut, propagate. If you were handy with the seed packets earlier in the year and you havegrown plenty of annuals you can relax and enjoy the July colours, cut flowers for indoor display and deadhead bedding plants to ensure continuous flowering.
Tall perennials such as delphiniums, gladioli and lupins may need staking if you haven’t already done so. Pinks and carnations start to go leggy so now’s the time to take stem cuttings, dip them in hormone rooting powder and pop them into pots of compost.
Keep on mowing
That is, so long as there is no prolonged drought. If it is very dry it pays to raise the height on the mower or cutting deck on the garden tractor to help prevent the lawn drying out. Turf grass comprises over 85% water so it needs irrigation to replenish, strengthen it and ‘green it up’.
Watering is essential for seed germination, cooling the plant and helping to prevent dry patch while pushing fertiliser granules into the turf and converting it for the plant to take it up. But continuous watering can also have a damaging effect and lead to disease, hence the rule of irrigating thoroughly once or at most twice a week for a green lawn.
Salad days are here again
The keen vegetable gardener will be harvesting globe artichokes, broad beans, French beans, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, marrows and potatoes now.
Others of us are content with tending our tomatoes, harvesting our shallots when the leaves yellow and digging up the garlic when the tips turn colour. Remembering most vegetables are going to be thirsty in dry weather and will need frequent watering, so a water butt to catch the rain off the shed, the greenhouse roof or a downpipe will come into its own.