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Monday 6 July 2020

This Month in Your Garden - July

Gardening requires lots of water, most of it in the form of perspiration. Lou Erickson

Scorching days in June and earlier months have meant a regime of constant watering for many gardeners. Planting in containers, pots and hanging baskets calls for making sure they also don’t dry out, while you remember the tomato plants in the greenhouse and the vegetables in that rather dry plot. But when is best to water, morning or evening?

The arguments for evening say there’s plenty of time for water to penetrate the soil and for the plants drink but it’s said leaves left wet overnight can lead to disease. It’s a misnomer that wet leaves on sunny days cause scorch but a simple rule of thumb is not to water in full sun because much of it will evaporate before it enters the soil. When to water probably depends very much on when you have time, which may not be an issue during the current situation if for example you’re furloughed.

What is important is if you water in the morning, make it very early and never in full sun to conserve water and allow the plants to replace the water lost through their stomata, the breathing holes in the leaves. If the weather is hot and breezy, watering in the evening allows the plants to dry out but still take up water by the roots overnight.

Well, there are other jobs to be done: deadheading flowers ensures repeat-flowering perennials and bedding plants continue flowering. Mulch borders to maintain moisture and keep down weeds. Collect seeds from flowers such as poppies and Calendula you haven’t dead-headed, to sow for next year. Thin out perennials, biennials and winter flowering seedlings. Check your clematis for wilt and your Michaelmas daisies for mildew and fungus rust. Deadhead those climbing roses that have gone over early due to the weather, and get another flush. There’s more to life than just watering.

  • Plant grey-leaved plants they usually need less water
  • Deadhead Achilleas, delphiniums, lupins scabious, geraniums for another flush
  • Clear ponds of weed and algae and top up as required
  • Plant autumn flowering bulbs such as crocuses and Nerines
  • Cut back to the base Kniphofia (red hot pokers) and Agapanthus ( African lilies)
  • Dig up  and store tulips and hyacinths that have flowered ready to plant in autumn
  • Watch out for pests: greenfly, blackfly, lily beetle and vine weevils
  • Set traps to catch earwigs eating leaves of your dahlias, clematis and chrysanthemums 

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