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I don’t know about you but along with my usual July tasks, there has been a deal of improvisation going on during this wet summer! There are some things that I have just left for another day, and others that have become more urgent, such as supporting plants which have become weighted or blown down by the wind and rain. You will have noticed that the abundant supply of water has resulted in a very lush plant environment, but certainly my flowers have really suffered, plus some plants have just not flowered at all yet. This is because nutrients in the plentiful supply of water have been used up created rapid growth of foliage. Never mind, you can but carry on doing what you can and making the best of the season regardless! Get the wellies and the raincoat on, and get out there! Defy those elements!


Planting

 

Believe it or not – it’s time to plant your autumn bulbs of crocus and colchicum!


Plant Management

 

Keep looking out for pests and diseases. Aphids, red spider mites, whitefly, sawfly and caterpillars are all among the pests to look for as before.

 

Now is the time to keep an eye out for conditions such as potato blight and powdery mildew. You can spray outdoor plants with a fungicide as a preventative measure. Any leaves with Botrytis (which looks like a fuzzy grey mould) on plants under glass should be removed immediately.

 

Cut back your hardy geraniums after flowering and give a liquid feed. You will get fresh new foliage in the next few weeks and a second flush of flowers.

 

Also feed early flowering plants such as Camellias and Rhododendrons. Remove old flowers to freshen the plant up and give it a good liquid feed.

 

Cut down any faded flower spikes and keep on deadheading your bedding plants to lengthen the flowering period.

 

Remember to keep your crops watered. Establish a regular routine for your tomatoes, ensuring they do not dry out. Irregular watering causes them to split.

 

Regularly harvest crops such as courgettes to encourage more to appear.

 

Similarly, if you keep picking and feeding sweet peas, they will continue to flower.

 

Mow lawns when it is dry, and you can apply a high-nitrogen feed in wet weather.

 

Pruning

 

If you have a box hedge, or any topiary, you will see that now is the time to give them a haircut. Box hedges always look a bit wild with new growth just now, but given a good trim and shape they look fantastic!

 

You can also prune well-established early flowering shrubs now. Cut a quarter of the old stems down to two-thirds of their length, encouraging new fresh growth for next season. If you remember to cut out dead and diseased stems and any growing in the wrong direction you will end up with a well-shaped shrub. Always give a shrub a good liquid feed after pruning.

 

Maintenance and Planning

 

I think it is very helpful to keep a journal with notes about what is happening when in your garden. Mine is very basic: the date, and the stage that key plants are at; what I have planted; what I have picked, plus any useful observations.  Even if it is not exhaustive you will find it is a useful prompt when you come to planning your garden next year. It’s a good present to ask for!