There’s still time to embrace the long summer days and all your seasonal favourites, whether you’re pruning and planting, or simply sitting back and savouring the sunshine!
When we get to July it always shocks me that its over halfway through the year already. July is a great month to finally sit back and enjoy all our hard work that has taken place so far this year. All of the weeding and mulching that took place earlier on should have kept those weeds at bay and hopefully some crafty staking earlier in Spring will have kept your larger herbaceous perennials in check.
Nevertheless, we all know a gardener’s work is never done and besides, I do find it hard to sit still for long! There is always some titivation that is needed now to keep the borders looking at their best as we go into late summer. Here in Salisbury, we have been working through our borders systematically, pulling out any of the pesky weeds that escaped our earlier attention. We are cutting back Knautia macedonica, and Geranium Bill Wallis once they have flowered to encourage a second flush of foliage and flowers later in the summer.
We have very silty fine top soil here and so seedlings germinate very well. However, not all are wanted and so self-set seedlings such Foeniculum vulgare and Stachys byzantine, which we don’t want to keep, are pulled out before they swamp other plants. Centranthus ruber and Chamerion angustifolium ‘Album’ are very prolific in our garden. They add a wonderful wild naturalistic element to the planting, but can be quite bullish, so now is the perfect time to take a look at clumps and maybe thin out and reduce where necessary to ensure they don’t out-compete their neighbours.
We are also adding in some annuals that we have grown from seed to extend the season. This year we have Cosmos sensation mixed and ‘Purity’ and Tithonia torchlight. We have been planting up our cut flower bed with other annuals, as well including sunflowers and Zinnia elegans. Remember, any plants you do add into your borders now will need a good water when planted and then at least a further water 2-3 times each week depending on the amount of rain we have.
On the subject of watering, don’t forget that even when we do get a rain shower, it is often not enough to penetrate a container, so keep up the watering of these each week! We have added moisture retaining crystals into ours which allows the soil to trap more moisture when can then be released into the soil as it dries out.
The vegetable garden should be giving a lovely crop of veg by now, depending on when you got started. We grow our veg in containers and pots here and have had a good crop of dwarf broad beans and salad leaves. Our tomatoes are now in their final planting containers. Keep nipping out the side shoots of cordon tomatoes to ensure the plant can concentrate its energy on producing fruit.
When you are taking that well earned rest, enjoy the wildlife and insects, which are also making the most of the abundance of flora and fauna in your gardens. Today alone I have spotted a tortoiseshell butterfly, several different bumblebees, honey bees and a hummingbird hawk moth, all darting around where I was weeding.
I recently saw a male bullfinch tucking into our Amelanchier berries, which is something I hadn’t seen in many years. Nature really does surprise us and reward us all the time.
We couldn’t agree more!