July means that summer is in full swing (despite the odd downpour!), and the garden is buzzing with growth, colour and wildlife. What jobs can you be getting on with this month to keep your outside space looking at its most vibrant?
At this time of the year, the lawn will need mowing regularly. Ideally, make sure the grass is dry when you cut – mowing damp grass can be detrimental to the lawn and can prevent your lawnmower from running smoothly. If the weather is particularly hot, set your mower to cut slightly higher than usual – this means you won’t be cutting your lawn quite so short, which will stop it from drying out too quickly in the sunshine.
It is also a good idea to use a quick-acting summer feed on your lawn now, if you haven’t already given it a spring feed. At this time of year, a fertiliser that is high in Nitrogen will promote green, healthy growth and will also help to thicken the grass.
Borders and Beds
Throughout July you should be regularly deadheading your bedding plants to keep them flowering throughout the summer.
Most flowering garden plants in containers, borders and hanging baskets will benefit from deadheading and don’t worry about damaging the plant. Simply removing a flower that is fading, or has died, will stop the plant from transferring energy trying to repair it, instead, it can use that energy to produce new growth.
You can deadhead many plants such as pansies, petunias, polyanthus and rhododendron using your finger and thumb. For more substantial stalks, such as those on dahlias and marigolds, use secateurs or scissors to ensure a clean cut.
Some flowering plants like fuchsias will cleverly deadhead themselves! But even if you deadhead a plant by mistake or incorrectly, don’t worry, you are unlikely to cause permanent damage and they will soon recover.
Water, water everywhere…
Make sure you regularly water your garden throughout the growing season, particularly containers and hanging baskets, as these will dry out first in hot conditions.
The best time to water your garden is in the evening, when the sun is no longer at its hottest. It might seem like a good idea to water your garden first thing in the morning, but once the sun reaches its peak at midday, any droplets of water left on leaves and grass will burn off, scorching the plants and lawn. If you have to water during the hottest times of the day, try to water directly on to the soil, avoiding plant stems and leaves.
Remember to relax!
July is one of our favourite gardening months because many of the necessary tasks involve the maintenance and upkeep of the work you already carried out earlier in the spring.
As a result, it’s important that you remember to take a step back and appreciate your hard work. July and August will see the fruits of your earlier planning and efforts, so a well-deserved break with a glass of something cool and refreshing is in order!