There are a number of colourful plants at their best in July. You will see various colours of Achillea, but in the wild you would know this plant as Yarrow which is white. In its cultivated form “Achillea” colours range extends to yellow, pink and red.
The temperature is now high enough for Agapanthus so you will see the showy display of blue, white and bi-colour plants. They are mostly perennial so they withdraw into their rhizome roots in the winter and reappear next year. There are a few like “Twister” which are hardy and produce flowers in the winter months.
The summer Clematis has now taken over from the Spring version – Montana – and is available in dainty and also saucer sized blooms. Each to their own taste, but the selection is almost endless.
Hemerocalis or more commonly known as Day lillies ( even though they are not really a lilly) are performing well. They come with single, double or even triple coloured blooms. The flowers of some are edible.
Dahlias make you wonder at the flower world as their unbelievable regular construction would be hard to replicate with a computer. They come in a range of designs which are self explanatory, Anenome, Ball, Cactus, Fimberated, Paeony, Pom pon, and Waterlilly, These make excellent cut flowers with a wide range of shapes, sizes and colourways of both the flower and the foliage.. “Bishop of Llandaff” has striking coppery foliage which contrasts well with its bright red flowers.
Roses have seen their first flush in June, so make sure you are diligent with dead heading to get the best from their nest showing. Just be a little careful not to dead head the ones like Rubra that will produce large rose hips later on.
Hardy Fuchsias are fabulous plants, giving the garden a long display of blooms through summer and into early autumn. Fuchsia genii has the added advantage of having rich golden foliage which accentuates its beautiful cerise and violet flowers. If you plant Fuchsia genii near a dark foliaged plant such as Heuchera “Plum Pudding” it makes it looks really dramatic. The name is also familiar to us through fashion “French Fuchsia”.
Elderflower is most commonly found in hedgerows but in its cultivated form we know it as Sambucus. This is a useful shrub as it will grow in a shady spot. Sambucus nigra “Black Lace” has feathery purple foliage similar to an Acer, but has the added advantage that it produces panicles of clear pink flowers which go on to form purply-black berries. It is best to cut back to 60cms – 90cms (2’ to 3’) in very early spring to the nearest bud.
Escallonia “Gold Ellen” has rich gold foliage which contrasts really well with its clusters of fragrant fuchsia flowers. This is a great plant for attracting the bees.
JOBS FOR JULY
– Keep an eye out for powdery mildew on Roses, Honeysuckle, Dahlias
– Prune fruited stems of summer raspberries to ground level
– Remember to keep dead-heading bedding plants and roses
– Prune box hedges and topiary
– Clip fast-growing hedges such as leylandii and privet to keep them in good condition
– Continue to deadhead perennials and bedding to promote flowering
– During any period of drought, set your lawn mower blades higher
– Apply summer feed and weed to lawn – weeds in lawns are growing at full pace and this is the best time to treat them
– Liquid feed hanging baskets and containers as in summer their food supply will diminish from the compost they were originally planted in
– Dead head roses and bedding plants to keep them flowering
– Divide bearded Iris (Iris germanica) after flowering.