loving the summer

Loving the Summer

by Craven and Valley Life

loving the summerJuly is often one of the hottest months of the year and the perfect time to enjoy your outside living space and garden. Make sure you keep plants well watered, using grey water such as bath water or washing up water where possible, and keep an eye on weeds. You can also now see what plants are working well in the garden – from a colour mix and landscaping perspective.

If you are still looking for inspiration then take a trip to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (8-13 July) and visit the special area Your Garden, Your Budget which has been created in collaboration with the Association of Professional Landscapers. They have created a number of showcase gardens that give practical solutions to design problems face by home gardeners and across a range of budgets.

A plant that is loved by landscapers and novice gardeners alike for its colour and structure is the much loved Salvia. It’s also a favourite of BBC Gardener’s World presenter Pippa Greenwood “I’m a great fan of the hardier salvias. Even before the buds open they are attractive plants with erect stems, often with aromatic foliage and forming a sort of clump of exclamation marks. Then when the flowers appear, usually in shades of violet, purple, pink or white, they can bring any sunny border to life instantly. Provide these plants with a well-drained but humus-rich soil and plenty of sun and they are easy to grow… seriously rewarding and… simply gorgeous!”

Salvias are long flowering, with the potential to put on a great show from June through much of the summer and into autumn. If you remove the flower spikes as soon as they have faded (or give the entire plant a serious haircut as soon as the last of the flowers fade) then they will keep flowering and you can often enjoy a second flush of flowers in October. They are much loved, not only by gardeners but also by bees and butterflies.

Although July is a time to put your feet up and relax in the garden there are still a few tasks to keep you busy.

Jobs to do in July
• Place conservatory plants outside now that it is warm
• Water tubs and new plants if dry, but be water-wise
• Deadhead plants to ensure continuous flowering
• Support tall plants and flowers with stakes
• Pick courgettes before they become marrows and harvest other fruit and veg
• Clear algae, blanket weeds and debris from ponds, and keep them topped up
• Order catalogues for next year’s spring flowering bulbs
• Give the lawn a summer feed, especially if not given a spring feed
• Keep on top of weeding
• Keep an eye out for pests … they don’t have summer holidays!