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Gardening Calendar July | Jobs to do in the Garden

In a normal gardening calendar year, the month of July starts to ease off as far as the flurry of Spring activity is concerned. Most hardy garden shrubs and perennials have finished growing their first flush of growth and are quite happy to slow things down a little and allow the first growth to harden and mature a little.

Alstroemeria Ligtu Hybrid

This is not so with tender perennials such as Dahlias and Late flowering perennials such as the Salvias. If growing conditions are right - ie plenty of food and water - they will still be sending out the growths that will bear the later flowers.

Most propagation by seed and cuttings will be avoided in this month, as the heat and sunlight will be too intense to allow successful propagation. In short, July in the garden tend to start slowing down. For those with large lawns, this will be relief!

July in the garden is a reward for all the work that was done earlier in the year - or even last Autumn. It is a good month to stand back (a little) and admire the display of flowers and foliage - the fruits of your hard work. This is not to say that there is nothing to do tis month. Just that it is a month where you can reflect a little, on what has been done - good and bad, and assess what has to be done.

What to do in July in your garden

The month of July in the garden, takes a different direction as far day to day tasks are concerned. 'Maintenance' tends to take over from the initial work of growing and planting. Garden centres will all realise that this July month sees the start of a rather severe drop off in trade. Many will have to start clearing some of their stock - both to get rid of it before it becomes worthless, and also to start setting the scene for the forthcoming Autumn season. Autumn may not start in your gardening mind and in your garden until late September. In the garden centre, the first of the spring flowering bulbs will start to appear on shelves in the middle of next month!

Water when necessary - and ONLY when necessary. Do this in the evenings or early morning. Try not to splash the larger flowers as they tend to take longer to dry out, and there could be the possibility of scorch from magnified water droplets!

Feeding Plants  but ensure that you uses the right feed. Liquid feeds at this time of year are best - and quick acting. Generally, it is not a good idea to feed plants when they are in full flower. Do NOT feed plants when the are dry. Water the soil well before and after feeding.

Flower Garden in July

  • Bulbs
    •  Tulips should be lifted - if you did not do in June - and stored.
    • Summer flowering bulbs such as Gladioli and Lilies should start to show flower now. If you do not have any summer flowering bulbs, then make a note to order some for next year. You will probably see places in the garden which could do with a little height that the summer flowering bulbs can give you.
  • Perennials
    •  Many perennials will be showing at their best now. Make sure that the taller ones are supported, especially those that will be flowering a little later. Phlox, and Crocosmia will need support. especially the Crocosmia, which tend to have drooping flower heads.
    • Get into the habit of removing faded or dead flower-heads before they can start to set seed. Many perennials can have a second flush of flowers later if you trim the fading flowers. Lupins, delphiniums and Echinacea being a few that benefit from this.
  • Bedding Plants.
    •  Unless you have been lucky, you will probably have a few gaps in the bedding plant scheme. (Maybe you bought or grew a few extra for this purpose) Water the new replacements well before filling in the gaps. Plants such as Busy Lizzie will not take kindly to watering in the morning - nor will the bedding begonias. They will show their disproval by displaying their scorched leaves. Water these - and most other things in the evenings.
  • Baskets and Containers
    •  July is normally a difficult month for maintenance of widow boxes and all manner of containers. Reason being that the plants will be at or near their maximum size foliage canopy. Add to this that you will have restricted to root system by growing in a container, and probably have enhanced the growth with feeding earlier on, then you will soon find out that the containers and hanging baskets will need much more water than they did for a comparative day last month! So many containers, window boxes and baskets suffer in July - simply because of drying out in hot sunshine. If you added water retentive gel at planting time, your watering problem will be eased. DO NOT be tempted to add dry crystals to the soil now. They expand considerably once wet, and will go as far as pushing the soil upwards and out of the pot. However, a light sprinkling on the surface of the compost - hidden by foliage - will greatly reduce the amount of watering needed, by way of mulch and ability to store water at the compost surface.
    • Dead head all faded flowers on a daily basis. Especially pansies - to increase the flowering period.
    • Try to aim  for shade plants to prevent direct sunlight on the containers. Patio containers can be moved closer together. Not that lighter coloured pots and window boxes will require less water than their dark coloured counterparts. The light colours reflecting rather than absorbing the sun's heat!

Shrubs in July

  • The Shrub Border
  • Generally it is a time to simply enjoy the shrub border in July. It will be getting a little late to prune many shrubs that flowered earlier in the year, as the growth after late pruning may not have enough time to mature and develop flower buds for next year, before growth stops in October. Early July should be fine. Check out the Pruning Calendar here.
  • Dead-heading of early flowering shrubs should have taken place, but if not, then double check all of the Azaleas and Rhododendrons, and ensure that the faded flower clusters are removed.
  • Some of the foliage shrubs - such as the golden Spiraea Goldmound can be pruned back if you are needing it for foliage colour later on in the year. The variegated Weigela will often please later if cut back now. Foliage may be at the expense of early flower next year.
  • Photinia Red Robin always happy to have short back and sides to produce succession of red foliage - and pruning now will give benefits for the autumn colours.

Vegetable Garden in July

  • Don't lose the plot! watering is essential during the summer months for most vegetable. Don't forget that ost of the weight and bulk of your veggies comes from the water content! Without adequate watering, some root veg such as beetroot will become less palatable!
  • Veggie Harvest is the reward for all the hard work you have put in earlier. Salad crops should be available in abundance, and it may be a good time to take note of just how many salad and other crops are wasted - or given away - because of sowing too many. Succession sowing is better. Think of that extra space you can use to widen your scope of varieties next year with better planning.

The Lawn in July

  • Lawn Maintenance is really down to cutting only when necessary, and not too short! The lawn can be enjoyed this month - that's what it is there for.
  • Watering the lawn in this month is a 'must' for many, but normally unnecessary if you are prepared for a little browning that will inevitably green up as soon as we get rain!

Pests and Diseases in July

  • Powdery Mildew is one of the prominent diseases this time of year - especially in drier months with little air-flow. You cannot 'cure' the affected leaves, but you can prevent the spread if treated early enough with a general fungicide.
  • The main pests will be aphids various - especially on roses.
  • Slugs in the vegetable garden will be active as there is plenty of succulent foliage to be chewing on! Of course they do not like the hot sun, so they have a day-long siesta - and eat through the night!

Flowering Plants for July


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