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Tuesday 10 July 2018

This Month in Your Garden - July

‘I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.’ - Claude Monet

The cultivation of roses, it is believed, began about 5,000 years ago in China. In the 17th century roses were so prized royalty considered them as legal tender. And this year seems an exceptional one for the roses in our garden. But growing conditions will vary greatly across the country and we each have our own favourite flowers.
This month we can reap the rewards of our considered planting earlier in the year and prolong the display by deadheading flower borders regularly. Cut back delphiniums and geraniums after the first flush of flowers and you can enjoy a second flowering. It’s wise to give them a feed after cutting back.
Now is the time to take cuttings from patio and container plants and shrubs to grow for next year. Divide flag and bearded iris, cut back perennials, lift, divide and re-plant daffodils, feed chrysanthemums. And while you’re there you can plant autumn-flowering bulbs such as crocuses, Nerine and Sternbergia. If you have grown primulas, calceolaris and cinerarias in the greenhouse, it’s time to pot them on.
Be water-wise. The long, hot periods demand plenty of watering of plants to keep up the display and mulching borders with a good, thick layer – bark chips work very well - will help to retain the moisture. A water butt to collect rainwater from the roof of the shed, green-house or downpipe will help conserve water in very dry spells and many plants prefer it to the chemically treated tap water. But you can also use ‘grey water’ or sullage – the relatively clean water from the washing up bowl is an ecologically sound re-use of the water. You can even go as far as having a greywater pump installed to recycle shower and bathwater.
  • Collect seed from plants for next year such as Nigella, poppies and marigolds
  • Watch out for pests: lily beetle, vine weevils and capsids
  • Lift tulips and hyacinths
  • Prop up tall perennials: delphiniums, lupins,
  • Dig out weeds or use a weedkiller on a calm day
  • Pot on greenhouse plants
  • Layer or take cuttings of pinks and carnations
  • Look out for and treat black spot on roses 

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