You could be forgiven for thinking summer had
But I digress. While it's more relaxed month than many gardening-wise, there's still much to be done, both chore and fun, in our gardens this July, and, with any luck, the weather might let off for long enough to let us enjoy the results of our hard work. Failing that, there's something decidedly British about sipping Pimm's under a trusted gazebo.
CHOPPING AND SNIPPING
Summer wouldn't be summer without a good bloom of flowers. With your flowering bedding plants and perennials, we want to encourage ongoing colour throughought the summer with attentive deadheading of lupins, delphiniums and the like. Roses can be encouraged with a trimming, too. It's a rather slow, methodical job, but can be done in a relaxed evening or two.
We want to keep everything nice and clear and hold back the approaches of weeds, giving our favoured plants room to breathe and grow. Hoe along your borders and beds to keep the smaller weeds in check, and, if by some miracle it's dry, you may need to apply a little weedkiller to the more hardy perennial weeds, like dandelion. Remove any dead annuals, and any other litter, and put them on the compost.
I know, I know. Advice on watering seems rather redundant the way our summer's been going, but there must be some corner of this island that's dry as July should be. If the sun does ever appear, make sure to water your plants, especially those in hanging baskets or pots. For the bedded plants, water them thoroughly, allowing the water to soak through the dried soil. This will allow the water to reach the deep roots. Don't water too regularly, especially with younger plants, as we want to encourage plants to set their roots nice and deep.
PLANTING AND HARVESTING
If you're growing veg in your garden (and if not, whyever not?), now's the time to sow some of your autumn and winter crops. Hearty flavours like kohlrabi and turnips can go straight in, as well as your carrots. Salad crops can continue to be planted, too. Get those tomatoes, celeriac, and cucumbers out from indoors and into the soil.
Prepare yourself a fine summer platter full of all your French, runner, and broad beans, making sure to leave the roots in to fertilise the soil. Grab your courgettes to add to the mix, too. Plant new crops on uncovered earth, or plant with cover like clover to keep the weeds away, and keep the soil from being leached of its nutrients. Greenhouse tomatoes, raspberries, and currants will also be ripe for the picking (and eating!).
GET THE KIDS INVOLVED
With he summer holidays now upon us, we have the opportunity to take advantage of some unpaid labour. I joke, but the kids will get a lot out of giving a helping hand in the garden. Depending on their age, you may want to keep the secateurs out of their hands, but they can do their bit planting, harvesting, weeding, and shifting stuff to the compost. Don't forget to reward their efforts with some juicy berries and fruits!
CELEBRATE IN TRUE BRITISH STYLE
This is, after all, the summer of Britain. Between the Jubilee, success in the Tour de France, and the Olympics coming London, we might as well give in an have a bit of a party about it all. Put up the gazebo to protect from the inevitable rain, get out the badminton set and bowls and, if you're feeling optimistic, put the paddling pool out for the children.
For that festival-at-home feel (and no, I don't mean getting wet and muddy), why not dig a fire pit? It should keep the party going once the light has faded, and the adventurous can even cook on it. For a more reliable cooking experience, I'd suggest the getting out the trusty barbecue and cooking some burgers to go with the bean salad you made.
Yes, I know I said I'd only list five things. Blame the Pimm's.