July garden plant maintenance

July garden plant maintenance in Wokingham and Maidenhead

Berkshire and surrounding areas

Penstemons

July! Everything, but everything, grows in the garden in these lovely, long, warm days. The vegetable garden is full of produce and borders thrive, which does of course mean watering, keeping an eye on pests and weeds. An irrigation system seems like a good idea as it will look after plants when you’re away on holiday.

Lawns love a liquid fertiliser, especially if they didn’t get one in the spring. There are products that cope with fertilising and weeds which could be useful. Lawns need mowing regularly, except during a drought. In hot weather, set the mower at a slightly higher level than normal for early summer. This can prevent the lawn drying in hot weather. However, don’t worry too about brown patches on the lawn – they recover amazingly fast when autumn rains arrive.

On the other hand, a lawn could stay green if a sprinkler is used once a week. This needn’t be too wasteful of water as half an inch of rain will probably wet the roots sufficiently.
July is the ideal time to sow spring-flowering perennial seeds in trays filled with good quality compost, or try sowing summer-flowering perennials such as scabiosa, echinacea and geranium. Winter-flowering pansies can be sown in the greenhouse.

We all know Buddleias are fantastic shrubs for attracting butterflies and bees, but there are more plants to consider planting in your garden which attract butterflies and bees. Helenium “Moerheim Beauty” flowers from July right through to September and has deep red blooms with a very prominent central disk; best planted in a sunny spot.

Penstemons are a great herbaceous plant with their tall flower spikes of tubular flowers packed full of nectar – real favourites with the bees! There are many varieties to choose from but these are popular: “Garnet” is a rich, port-wine red and is one of the hardiest forms; “Connies Pink” is a rose pink and has very slender trumpets; “Alice Hindley” is pale mauve and grows up to 45cms.

Foxgloves are also a favourite, and are useful as they thrive in partial shade. Everyone is familiar with the common form, Digitalis purpurea, but there are other forms you may want to consider. Digitalis f. albiflora has tall, pure white spikes and stands out well in shady spots; or a more unusual foxglove is Digitalis ferruginea with its unusual coppery flowers which are borne in very thin spikes; or try Digitalis x mertonensis which produces spikes of pink flowers with more than a hint of yellow! The trick with foxgloves is to keep sowing them each year – being mainly biennials, they form a round rosette of leaves in their first year and then flower in their second year.

Jobs for July

  • During any periods of drought, do not forget to set your 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; they will be running out of food from the compost they were originally planted in before the end of winter.

  • Keep an eye out for powdery mildew on roses; preferably do a preventative spray with a fungicide.

  • Cut fast growing hedges such as Leylandii.

  • Dead-head roses, perennials and bedding to promote flowering.

  • Damp down your greenhouse floor to help prevent infestations of Red Spider Mite.

  • Plant out leeks and winter cabbage.

  • Make sure you are watering your tomatoes regularly.

We hope you have enjoyed July’s gardening tips from Gardeneer