This Month in the Garden – July

TMITG_ds1The wild flower bed prepared by the Gardening Association at the entrance to Deep Spinney is now blooming attractively. We cut the turf and dug the soil in November and sowed a wild flower mix in March and the result is there for everyone to see. I hope you will pay it a visit; it is best seen close up. Wild flower meadows are currently very fashionable but they are not the same as a wildflower bed.

A meadow is more difficult to establish because the flower seed is sown into grass and it has to compete with the grass. One method recommended is to strip the top soil off first because grass grows too strongly in a fertile medium and the flowers compete on more even terms on poor soil. The Deep Spinney plot was sown into prepared soil more like sowing a garden flower bed and the result is a denser flowering than you would get in a meadow. Most of the plants are annuals and, although they will self sow, we expect to sow the bed again next year.

Herbaceous flower beds in the garden will be coming to their peak in July August and they will continue to need attention. If you haven’t yet managed to support the taller plants this will probably be necessary; It’s disappointing to see lovely plants collapsed after heavy rain or wind. If there’s room for weeds to show keep removing them.

So far this year, since the wet winter, we have had a pretty good mix of rain and sun with just one spell when things were beginning to get dry. If we do get a dry time, regular watering pays off and watch out for any plants that show signs of wilting; in particular keep watering newly planted shrubs and trees, They need this throughout their first growing season. Lawns don’t need to be watered if they start getting brown unless you are very anxious to keep a green appearance. They will soon green up again when rain comes. It is, though, worth raising the mowing height so there is more growth.

July and, especially , August are times when you can afford to drop the work rate in the garden. I might even sit in mine some time. Don’t drop your guard altogether though and keep up with some of the discipline. Keep dead heading container plants and roses and maintain regular liquid feed on the containers. You can still sow a little lettuce during July and keep nipping out the side shoots on tomato plants. They will be desperate to escape your attention, as will courgettes that want to be marrows. I am growing yellow courgette this year. I haven’t eaten any yet but at least you can see them easily amongst the leaves.

Most of the real delights of summer are still to come but looming into sight in early September will be the Biddenham Show. As soon as the brochures are available have a look around the garden to see what you might enter and give your chosen specimens some loving care. Part of the art is to have enough samples in each selected class to let you choose the best and most uniform. Last year there were a lot more entries and the competition was more satisfying. See if you can do even better this year.

Jeremy Arthern

Jeremy Arthern

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