July welcomes in a huge variety of colour and scent into the garden and skillful gardeners can now show off their successional planting. This is the key to all good planting schemes; to avoid too much profusion all at once and ensure that as one flower dies, another takes its place so there is a wave of continuous colour. I always think the end of this month and the beginning of August create challenges for many gardeners, indeed some of our customers in the south-east have told me that their gardens are almost “over” by August with brown lawns, faded perennials and flower-heads gone to seed. In this and the August blog I will suggest plants that will provide you with a show throughout the summer and some well into the Autumn.
Plants in their prime in July:
Trees: Aesculus indica, Catalpa bignonioides, Eucryphia.
Shrubs: Abelia chinensis, Buddleia, Crocosmia (Monbretia), Hebe, Lavendula, Lavatera, Spiraea japonica ‘ Anthony waterer’, Wisteria
Evergreens: Escallonia, Prunus laurocersus, Teucrium fruticans
Climbers: Clematis ‘Comtesse de Bouchard’, Clematis The President, Clematis Ville de lyon, Fremontodendron californicum, Jasminum officinale, Hydrangea anomal subsp.petiolaris, Lonicera periclymenum “Belgica’, Serotina.
Perennials: Acanthus spinosa, Alcea rosa (Hollyhock), Alstroemeria, Astilbe Delft Lace, Campanula latifolia, Cosmos Sonata, Delphinium, Echinops ritro, Eryngium, Euphorbia characias subsp.wulfenii, Gallardia, Gaura lindheimeri, Geranium ‘Johnson’s blue’, Geranium x oxonianum ‘Wargrave Pink’, Helianthus, Hemerocallis, Lavatera x clementii, Nepeta, Paeonia, Penstemon, Phlox paniculata, Potentilla, Rudbeckia, Salvia x superba, Stachys byzantine, Verbascum, Veronica gentianoides
Bulbs: Allium, Begonia, Dahlia, Galtonia, Gladiolus, Lilium
Annuals: Isotoma, Lobelia, Geraniums, Cosmos
If your lawn isn’t already brown then you could apply a quick acting feed if you didn’t do so in June. Do not waste water attempting to “green” it, it will all come back when there is a decent rainfall in August/September and there will be!
Pruning and renovation
Prune June-flowering shrubs such as Philadelphus and Weigela after flowering.
Evergreen hedges would benefit from clipping (Privet and Lonicera nitida)
Remove flowering stalks on bamboos otherwise plant is significantly weakened
Ensure newly planted trees and shrubs do not dry out.
Prune and deadhead roses and remove rose and tree suckers
Cut back delphiniums and geraniums to encourage a second flowering
Deadhead flower borders regularly to prolong flowering.
Support tall perennials such as lupins, delphiniums and gladioli
Cut lavender for drying
Sowing and planting
Plant Autumn-flowering bulbs, such as Colchicum, Sternbergia, Amaryllis and Nerine’s.
If you can protect your garden from perennial weeds like bindweed, ground elder and horsetail you’re doing well as it pops up everywhere, especially in town gardens where tap roots easily cross boundaries.Wait until these are in full leaf before you apply treatment, usually this month, and if possible delay until the evening when absorption rate is at its highest. Systemic weedkiller products containing glyphosate include Roundup (Scotts), Bayer, Gallop, Rosate. The horsetail stubbornly resists weedkiller and I have heard of some gardeners resorting to an application of high nitrate fertiliser which it detests as it likes poor quality soil! For those of you who are unsure what these nightmare weeds look like, check below!
Ground elder Bindweed
Protection (Insect damage):
At this time of year the insects are all busy chomping their way through our flowers, fruits and vegetables and although this is something we will never eradicate completely, it is worth trying to keep on top of.
Cypress aphid: Brown patches on conifers such as Thuja occidentalis, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana and x Cuprocyparis leylandii, may indicate an earlier infestation by the cypress aphids. Telltale signs include black sooty mould along the stems and shed skin cases. Where hedges are affected prune out brown shoots and tie in neighbouring branches to help fill the gaps.
Treatment: Bayer Provado Ultimate Bug Killer concentrate
Bay sucker: Thickened and curled margins on bay trees (Laurus nobilis) are a sign of damage by the bay sucker.
Treatment: Remove affected leaves, collecting also those which have fallen to the ground and then spray plant with Bayer Provado (contains Thiaproclid).
Leafcutter bees: Neat circular areas removed from the edges of rose and other leaves are telltale signs of leaf-cutter bees at work. Treatment: These nesting female bees are important to pollinate so if you can spot them, swish them away! They use the elliptical shapes from the leaf edges to make their cells for laying eggs. It’s only really a significant problem when young plants are being defoliated badly.
Powdery mildew: Yellow and distorted leaves on cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) indicate a powdery mildew problem. Also in very dry conditions, clematis, roses and honeysuckle are susceptible.
Treatment: Roseclear by Scotts.
Capsid bug: Small holes and tears in new foliage of ornamentals such as Caryopteris, Fuchsia and Dahlia are most likely caused by capsid bug damage.
Treatment: Vitax PY Concentrate
Aphids (green and black fly): Spray whenever you see them, preferably not in full sunlight.
Treatment: Bug Clear by Scotts
Black spot: Treat black spot on roses immediately.
Treatment: Roseclear by Scotts