Tag Archives: english garden

The garden in July

20 Jul

July is a tricky time in the garden. The roses are nearly over, especially if it’s been as wet and windy as we’ve had it recently. The peonies are finished , the early hardy geraniums- e g Johnson’s Blue – have done their bit.

Yet the late summer flowers – dahlias, daisies, fuchsias etc – are yet to flower.

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I visited a friend a few months ago to give her some advice on how to get her garden looking perfect for her daughter’s wedding at the end of July. My first suggestion of moving the wedding forward to June was not accepted ! So this is what I suggested instead-

1. Deadhead everything as often as possible – this will keep your repeat flowering roses flowering and many perennials will put up a second flush of flowers – delphiniums, lupins.

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2. Cutting many perennials down to the ground will prompt fresh foliage rather than more flowers but at least they’ll look fresh and healthy rather than dry and spent. This works well for many geraniums, alchemilla mollis, nepeta, hesperis. Remember to water well and feed to get them going again.

3. Plan in advance, to delay the flowering of some of your May/June flowering perennials. This method is sometimes known as the Chelsea chop – not because they do it at Chelsea, but because that’s the best week to do it. It involves chopping off the flower heads on selected perennials so that they effectively have to start again producing flower heads, thus delaying their flowering by several weeks. I know this sounds very radical, but it does work. You may get slightly smaller flowers but your plants will be sturdier for it. You can also just do it to a portion of a clump so that you get a longer flowering period. It works for many plants including geraniums, daisies, echinacea, phlox, sedum, helenium, solidago, nepeta, asters.

4. If you have a greenhouse, pot up lilies which will flower in July, dahlia tubers potted up in large 10l pots in a Greenhouse in March also have good chance of flowering in July. These pots can easily be slotted in amongst existing planting.

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5. Grow some annuals from seed to fill any gaps. By this I don’t mean small bedding plants like petunias as these will just get lost amongst your perennials. I grow a couple of dozen nicotiana langsdorffii every year – they grow to about 2ft high and their lime green bells flower from July through to the first frosts. Similar annuals that would work are nicotiana mutabilis , Malva trifida, snapdragons, cosmos. Find one that grows easily for you and grow lots – that way you get good repetition throughout your beds.

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I know I really should’ve told you all this in May but better late than never ! I’ll try and remember to re-post this in May next year !

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