This month is all about maintaining your blooms, nurturing your fruit plants, and providing your garden with the care it needs to prevent drying out and becoming damaged during the warmer months
It’s high summer and nature is blooming in its full glory. It’s a time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour from the previous year but there are a few garden jobs for July that need attending to.
Peak gardening season is well underway, which means there are plenty of jobs to keep gardens looking their best in July.
Julian Palphramand, horticulture buyer at Wyevale Garden Centres, shares his gardening jobs of the month, helping you to get one step closer to your dream garden:
1. Dote on your Dahlias
Dahlias are incredibly thirsty plants – just look at their fleshy leaves and luscious stems and it’s easy to see why. To ensure your Dahlias are blooming bright with an abundance of beautiful flowers, nourish your plants with liquid feed and regularly water them during the next month. While smaller Dahlias are self-standing, the tall varieties may need supporting with stakes – simply tie the stems to the stake with string to keep their flower heads up right.
2. Thin out your fruit
During peak gardening season, the favourable conditions for plant growth means that fruit trees can abundantly over-produce. Large quantities of heavy fruits such as apples, pears and plums on the branches can often result in a final crop of disappointingly small fruits. This is due to the high demand put on the tree’s resources and the limited sunlight penetrating its heavy branches. July is prime time to thin out your dense crops by removing any excess or damaged fruits from the plant, enabling it to develop a more evenly ripe crop of fruits.
3. Love your lawn
Summertime means that everything will be growing extremely fast and as a result, you will need to make sure you are mowing your lawn once a week to keep it in good health. It is also important to water your lawn regularly to prevent it from turning brown and drying out during the hotter months. If your ground has become dry, spike it gently with a garden fork before watering to aid the penetration of the water.
4. Take cuttings from your perennials
Tender perennials such as Fuchsias are best propagated from cuttings, and so July is a great time to get snipping. As young plants root more easily, cuttings should be taken from the tender new growth for the season. Either pot the plants now so that they develop sufficient roots to survive in the winter, or hold onto your cuttings until the following spring.
Want to get ahead: READ: Jobs to do in the garden in August
5. Water new trees, shrubs and perennials
It is important that you water the trees, shrubs and perennials that were planted in spring. Make sure you are watering the base of the plant and avoid wetting the leaves as they won’t absorb any water this way and wetting the leaf tissue can even encourage fungal diseases.
6. Feed the birds
Summer feeding is in full swing, so remember to top up your bird and wildlife feeders and water containers. The warmer weather means that July is an especially important month to tend to nature and keep your garden abuzz with birds, bees and other wildlife – particularly as over 82% of Brits would like to attract more wildlife into their gardens. Birds in particular relish in gardeners’ efforts, using bird baths to both hydrate and cool down through bathing in the water.
7. Give bees a boost
If June has been as predictably hot and wet as usual then nectar-rich flowers could be few and far between so help out the honey bees by planting lavender, jasmine and bergamot. Make sure the flightpath between flowers – and, if you have one, a beehive or bee house – is free from overgrowth.
The bees will be doing their best to harvest the pollen so the last thing they need is to have to risk losing their precious load in the long grass. The RHS have a helpful list of garden and wild flowers that are perfect for pollinators.
8. Get ahead with sowing
If you really want to get ahead, sow biennials such as foxgloves, Sweet William (pictured above), wallflowers, honesty and forget-me-nots, to plant out in autumn for a stunning display next spring. Sow into large seed trays or a dedicated seed bed, then separate seedlings when large enough to handle. Sow late summer and winter crops such as leeks, carrots, cauliflower, sprouting broccoli, cabbages and dwarf peas. You can also continue to sow lettuces, radishes and beetroot in between the rows of slower-growing crops.
9. Lend a hand to your animal friends
Care for birds and wildlife by cleaning and topping up birdbaths and feeders. Avoid pruning your hedges until the end of August at the earliest. The main breeding time for garden birds is between March and August so give them time to rear their young. Conifers in particular provide nesting sites for blackbirds, robins, and greenfinches, as well as larger birds such as sparrowhawks and crows. Top up ponds, ideally with rainwater and remove dead foliage from aquatic and marginal plants. Blanket weed can also be a problem – carefully remove using a garden fork and leave by the side of the pond so any creatures can crawl back into the water.
10. Collect and store seeds
Collect the seed of flowers that you want to grow again next year. Store the seed in paper bags or envelopes, labelled with the plant name and harvest date, in a cool, dry place.
11. Tidy up regularly
Check supports for climbing plants; the strong winds and torrential rain will have put considerable pressure on everything but regular tidying in the garden is easier to deal with than leaving it all until the end of the summer. Check for weeds in flower beds and prune wisteria, box hedges, honeysuckle and bay laurel.
Want more garden ideas? READ: Small garden ideas to make the most of a tiny space
Whether you’re planting, pruning or reaping the rewards of your burgeoning fruit trees, you are sure to discover many delights in the garden this month.