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GARDENS FOR NATURE AND YOU

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After all the work put in during the earlier part of the year, now is the time to enjoy the fruits of your labours, sit back on your sun bed and soak up the sun with a good book and watch the bees flitting around the flowers in full bloom, collecting the nectar.




JULY

It is essential to keep watering during hot dry weather. Young shrubs still need watering if flower buds are to develop for Spring. Azaleas, rhododendron and hydrangeas will all benefit from overhead watering; if you look closely you will see the new buds starting to grow and these must not be allowed to dry out, as next year’s display will be affected. When mowing the lawn, collect the clippings and spread them out to a depth of about 2” under shrubs to conserve moisture and to keep down weeds, but not too close for fear of burning the stems. Don’t use the clippings from the first couple of cuts after treating the lawn with selective week-killer.


Regularly harvest vegetables as they ripen to encourage further yields. Peas and beans can all be blanched and frozen. Routinely hoe between rows of vegetables to keep the weeds at bay. If putting down grass mulch, consider adding a few slug pellets underneath and also mix the mulch with nettles, turnip and radish tops to lighten the mix and create a good nutritious manure to develop.


When the peas and beans have finished, the mulch can be raked away or dug in, the ground underneath will be ideal for further sowings of carrots and salad crops. Brassicas can be planted in between rows of earthed up potatoes ready for harvesting over winter. Other crops to be planted now are turnips and silver skinned onions - sown thickly to keep them small; broad and runner beans in the south and spring cabbage, parsley and winter radish anywhere.

But don’t sit around for too long, there is still a lot to be done in the garden: Lawns and hedges to be trimmed, vegetable and flower beds to be kept weed free and regularly watered.


If you have grown the everlasting flowers, pick them on a dry sunny day and hang upside down to dry.  Keep picking sweet peas to encourage more flowers and enjoy the sweet scent indoors. Your bearded irises will have finished flowering now, if they are overcrowded, lift them and replant between now and September, discard the old centres and keep the top of the rhizomes on top of the soil facing towards the sun. Consider growing other irises; Iris Reticulata the first to come into flower with the snowdrop next February and the Dutch Iris for a late spring display of yellows and blues.


Raspberry canes should be loaded with fruit now with the promise of many more to come between now and the end of October if kept well watered in dry conditions. Keep picking the fruit and open freeze the excess to make jam or to enjoy when out of season.


Plants in the greenhouse, require shade to prevent them overheating, damp down to discourage spider mites and other pests. Tomatoes, peppers and chillies will need copious amounts of water to keep them actively growing, when the fourth truss on the tomatoes has set, change the feed to a nitrogenous fertiliser, such as dried blood.