Whether it be BBQ's, camping in the garden, enjoying afternoon tea or just lazing in a hammock, July is definitely the best month for enjoying your garden.
I can't quite believe we are in July already, and I seem to be busier than ever.
I recently saw an ad on Facebook, ordered a tonne of soil improver on a whim, and didn’t really consider that it needs distributing around the garden.
It's pretty smelly, and the dogs love to roll around in it, but as I keep saying to anyone who will listen, the soil here is so poor, stony, weedy, dry etc so I’m willing to try anything.
July sees the garden full of flowers and looking at its best, jobs this month are all about giving your garden what it needs to stay looking spectacular all summer long.
Deadheading bedding plants and early summer flowering shrubs is one of the most productive ways of spending your time, often resulting in a second flush of blooms. Trim back and feed regularly.
Get snipping - tender perennials such as Fuchsia for propagation, pot up now so they develop a root system to survive the winter. I’m having a go at Clematis this year, in the hope I will have new plants to sell next Spring
Catch veg while at its peak and harvest regularly, limit tomato growth by pinching out the growing tip and side shoots. My mini allotment has gone into overdrive, lots of fresh lettuces, spinach etc
If you have any seeds left, now is a good time to sow beetroot, carrots, dwarf French beans, lettuce and radishes in any gaps.
As long as there isn’t a drought, it’s worth feeding the lawn, treating moss and weeds, and spiking to improve water retention and drainage. During dry weather, raise the blades on your mower, allowing the grass to grow a little longer helping to keep it greener.
Look after containers and baskets. They have a tendency to dry out really quickly, so give them a good soaking at least once a day in sunny weather.
If tomatoes are still in the greenhouse, keep well watered/fed and increase humidity to stop them from spoiling.
Give houseplants an airing by putting them outside for a few weeks
Clear filters and pumps in ponds, remove any blanket weed and top up with rainwater from water butts for happy fishes and keep birdbaths clean and topped up for our feathered friends
Compost as much as possible so it is ready to dig in during Autumn
Stay home, stay safe everyone
Well, just a few weeks later and we are in the midst of a heatwave, however, the lack of rain hasn’t stopped our gardens from filling out and looking colourful in the sunshine. All around the village I’ve seen some beautiful sights.
Gardening fever really did take over early May, quite a flurry of activity and demand for plants and compost etc.
Thanks to everyone who bought plants from me, with the profits we made two donations each to the NHS and the food bank, and gave a nice amount to the village hall. So well done everyone who supported us.
It goes without saying, containers need to be kept well-watered if plants are to thrive in this dry spell. My water butts are now almost empty already, so I will try to utilise (white) waste water as much as possible to keep things going.
In the vegetable boxes we made out of old pallets, the veggies are growing at a rate of knots and attracting attention from the blackbirds. My little plot now looks like a gaudy funfair with bright plastic flags, windmills and netting to deter the birds feasting on my brassicas !
I’ve had a few casualties , frost got to the runner beans and pea plants shriveled the one day I forgot to open the greenhouse door for ventilation. All was not lost, runner beans made a good recovery and new seeds I’d bought to replace them, are shooting well.
During this warm weather, there’s still a few things to take care of, I try to get out there quite early and then again later in the evening.
Hedges can be lightly trimmed to improve density but if birds are nesting, it would be kinder to wait until they’ve flown.
Roses have been really good this year, regular deadheading on all flowering plants will keep them looking tip top and encourage more blooms. This also applies to faded annuals in pots and baskets
Keep on top of the brambles, ground elder and nettles
Transplant tomatoes outside, if you do have any plants remaining in the greenhouse it might be worth putting up some shading to avoid scorching, and only water at the base, not the foliage.
Once you get four or five trusses on each plant, pinch out the growing tips to divert energy into the tomatoes.
Top up ponds and bird baths with fresh water
Tame unruly climbers by tying in new stems to support them
Dividing perennials, planting shrubs and sowing biennials can wait, its best not move/plant anything whilst the ground is so dry. Unless you can remember to keep them watered, they will most likely die or not germinate.
Take it easy, and stay cool ! Here's a few pictures my son took yesterday to brighten up your day
Well, as I sit here in a jumper and jeans in front of the log fire, its hard to believe this time last week we were enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures more akin to summer days.
My garden is glad of the rain, the water butts are topped up and it does mean I'm spared the chore of watering new plants for a little while.
I hope you have all been keeping busy and enjoying your gardens more than ever.
Thanks to generous villagers, I have recycled old pallets into raised vegetable beds and created my own little allotment space no more than 8ft x 8.ft .
The garden here at the Old Nursery sits on a grassed over multitude of sins. Just a couple of inches underneath I discovered old concrete and rubble from when the place was renovated in 2010, including the old fish ponds. It has been a labour of love digging out and removing huge blocks of concrete and bricks , replacing areas with topsoil and manure in order to create some interest and colour by planting shrubs etc.
I tried unsuccessfully to grow fruit and vegetables in the first year, the ground was just too poor, full of hardcore, weeds and brambles.
So, you could say, my new veggie boxes are a welcome addition, and it will be interesting to watch their progress over the coming weeks. I've put in a mixture of seedlings from the greenhouse, and sown directly, in the hope I will get produce phased over a longer period. We love carrots but I didn't want them all ready in the same week !
I've also been busy with getting summer bedding ready.
The warmer days have meant watering all those little pots regularly, except when I've been feeling lazy, and pointed the hosepipe into the green house and sprayed the whole lot in one go !
Thanks to everyone who responded to my shout out for pots, its really has been a great help , particularly for the spare veggie plants.
I will be putting them out for sale this weekend, its earlier than planned as they haven't been hardened off, and perhaps still a bit too cool for them at night, but so many people have asked, it feels like the right thing to do. As long as you protect them from frost, they should thrive OK.
Please check out my post on Facebook.
All 50p each pot, or 10 for £4.50
With your support, I'm hoping to split any profit between the village hall, the Burbage foodbank and the NHS this time.
Ok, so what should we be doing in May ?
If you haven't done so already, there's still time to sow beans, salads and sweetcorn outdoors.
Lift & dry bulbs to store until replanting in autumn, deadhead daffs just below the seed pod and wait for foliage to die off naturally.
Treat your lawn to a good feed and mow regularly
Feeling creative ? How about making a herb garden or an alpine trough.
Keep weeds down by mulching.
Sow hardy annuals
Thin vegetable seedlings
Support tall growing border plants and climbers.
With a little bit of rain, the plants will shoot up quickly before you know it.
Take care everyone
All of a sudden, it feels like there’s plenty to do in the garden again. With blossom on the trees and sunshine to lift our spirits, it really kickstarts the growing season.
April is all about sowing and the dreaded weed control.
Sow sow sow! - whether its annual flowers, vegetables or herbs and salads, now is the time to get them started in the greenhouse. Jack Frost can reappear at any time so it’s probably best to wait until end May before planting out, or if sowing directly outside, protecting young seedlings under cloches or fleece.
Make the most of the sunshine by giving your greenhouse a good clean to maximise light. Keep seed trays and pots moist to encourage germination, and on warm days, leave the greenhouse door open.
Plant or pot on hardwood cuttings taken last year.
Avoid fungal diseases developing on new plants by watering from below and protect seedlings and new shoots from slugs and snails.
Plant potatoes and other veg. I have a number of seedlings on the go which will be left out on the front wall for anyone who wants some for free. When they are ready, I will post it on The Burbage Facebook page.
Outside – repair patches in the lawn, feed trees, hedges and shrubs with compost or well-rotted manure. Feed hungry shrubs and roses, and keep container plants well-watered.
Prepare beds for growing season by digging in a good layer of compost or well-rotted manure. You can also work in a general fertiliser e.g. chicken manure pellets, or fish, blood and bone.
General – dead head daffodils and tulips, leaving foliage to die back naturally. Lift & divide perennials to create new plants. Direct sow wildflower seed mixture, and if you can, leave a patch of unmown grass to add a bit of biodiversity to your garden. Butterflies like nothing better than laying eggs in flowering grasses.
Prune hydrangeas back to the old wood, to a healthy shoot. Tie in climbers.
Deal with weeds as soon as you see them, mulching will help. Apart from dandelions which can be dug out fairly easily, my absolute arch enemy is ground elder, it gets everywhere and seems an impossible task to dig out all the roots. My heart drops every time I spot a new shoot appearing.
I’ve read that Mexican marigolds are a natural weed killer, with a mutual dislike for ground elder, so I’ve ordered myself some seeds and will let you know if it works.
Watch out for aphids, wipe off. My mum swears by spraying water with a little washing up liquid mixed in. It won’t do any harm to try, but when we had an infestation of woolly aphids in the beech hedging last year, I didn’t notice any difference. On a smaller area, perhaps it would be more successful, e.g roses.
On my daily walks with the dogs around the village, I’ve seen some beautiful displays of spring colour, thank you for making our village such a beautiful place to be.
Thanks also for your support in purchasing the bedding plants – I’m proud to say, your contribution to the Village Hall has been gratefully received and enabled the committee to buy a chiller cabinet. This is fantastic news. Please come back and buy summer bedding when it is ready, your support is appreciated.
Take care of yourselves, keep busy, and above all, do stay safe,
Tracey @ The Old Nursery