‘I am Summer, come to lure you away from your computer... come dance on my fresh grass…’ Oriana Green
First the heatwave and we’re out there feverishly watering and then all it takes is to set the sprinkler going on the parched lawn and behold, the rain comes. Well, we needed some moisture but the problem with a lot of rain in a short period is the lawn hardly benefits. It takes a really thorough soaking to keep it green during such hot spells and dry July. But be water-wise.
The border plants however will be grateful for the rain and to maintain the benefit you can mulch around them with a bark mulch. Not only is it a good weed deterrent, it will help keep the soil below moist for longer. Keep an eye on any clematis you have for signs of wilt, where the leaves appear diseased. Cutting the plant right back can revive it. Deadheading repeat flowering border plants and perennials is rewarded with more colourful flowering into the autumn.
Now is the time to take cuttings of patio and container plants which can be rooted into compost with some rooting powder, to grow on for next year’s display. If you have lots of flowers take some for dried flower arrangements. Grow herbs for the kitchen with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme enjoying the sunshine along with lavender oregano, fennel and chives. Summer prune bush and standard roses for an autumn flush. Lots to do, lots to enjoy.
- Plant autumn-flowering bulbs such as autumn crocuses, Colchicum, Nerine and Amaryllis
- Cut back plants in hanging baskets to encourage more flowering
- Use ‘grey water’ for watering tubs and containers
- Plant flag irises in a sunny spot for added colour
- Look out for caterpillars and greenfly on fruit and veg and, when wet, snails around Hostas
- Attract bees and butterflies with Buddleia, achillea and campanula
- Collect seeds from plants and flowers for sowing now or later.
- Take cuttings of pinks and carnations to propagate