Last month I visited a place where I used to go as a child almost every weekend, Elvaston Castle near Borrowash. It must have been about 15 years ago that I last visited the walled gardens – I had the opportunity to visit again to see what the gardeners have done (with very little money).
The results are outstanding and it was good to hear they do most of their own propagating. If you visit these fantastic gardens yourself, you will gain so much inspiration and maybe include some of the plants in your garden. Anyone that reads my gardening article in Country Images magazine every month knows how passionate I am about the NGS garden scheme – For those who are not aware, this is where talented and passionate people open their gardens to complete strangers! Remember there are lots of NGS Open Gardens this month so go and visit some, you may be inspired to open your own garden next year. Look out for the yellow posters in garden centres & nurseries.
Allotment or Vegetable Patch:
Spray apple trees and gooseberry bushes with a fungicide to help prevent mildew – ‘Fungus Fighter’ is very good.
Keep looking out for woolly aphids as the recent weather has been perfect for them and spray with an insecticide if found.
Start to lift early potatoes.
Sow a later crop of peas between the start and middle of July.
If you haven’t already, thin out heavy crops of apples, pears and plums by removing any weaker looking fruit.
Feed fruit trees and bushes with liquid sulphate of potash, such as a tomato feed.
Feed tomato plants every time you water with a suitable tomato fertiliser.
Water celery plants regularly if was suddenly have hot, dry weather.
In the Greenhouse:
Water tomatoes regularly to help prevent fruit splitting.
Use calcium with your tomato feed to prevent blossom end rot.
Replace new hanging sticky traps (found in all good garden centres) over plants to catch any whitefly.
Thin out weaker looking bunches of indoor grapes.
Take out side shoots of developing tomato plants
Place pots of tagetes or pots of basil near greenhouse doors to deter whitefly.
If going on holiday this month, set up a watering area using a growbag tray and some capillary matting.
Water down the greenhouse floor each morning on hot days to increase humidity.
Open all vents and prop doors open on warm days to improve ventilation.
Pick tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other greenhouse crops regularly to encourage further flowers to develop
General Garden Maintenance:
Feed the lawn with a suitable lawn fertiliser ideally one that also has iron.
Keep mowing the lawn regularly, but don’t cut too short if weather stays warm.
Remembering to water newly planted trees & shrubs well if there is a lack of rain.
Apply a deep layer of bark mulch around newly planted or established trees & shrubs to retain much needed moisture and help suppress weeds.
Feed hanging baskets and patio pots with a liquid fertiliser every week.
Top up bird baths regularly with fresh water. They are very quickly drying out in recent hot weather.
Turn over and refill compost heaps to help composting process.
Plants that are a must this month:
Verbena bonariensis: Very popular herbaceous perennial with tall green sparsely-leafed stems and flat lavender purple flowers which attract butterflies and bees. Ideal for the back of a border as it will reach about 150cm (5ft) if this is too tall try Verbena rigida, this will reach 60cm (2ft) both are classed as half hardy but planted inbetween other plants should give it winter protection.
TIP: Buy this now as when it comes into flower it’s usually sold out!
Heuchera (Coral Flower): Fantastic herbaceous perennial with brightly coloured, compact foliage and neat flower spikes which appear in from June to September. A good plant for border or containers which will give you colour all year long as it keeps it’s leaf in winter. There are now hundreds of varieties but some new varieties are Midnight Rose, Jade Gloss and Mahogany.
Agapanthus: Great herbaceous plant that does best in a container when the roots are restricted. Large round blooms of pure white or to the deepest blues appear now till late August. Expect Agapanthus plants to be more expensive than most herbaceous perennials.
Dahlias (Herbaceous): A great herbaceous plant that gives weeks and weeks of stunning colour, most people pick the fabulous Dahlia, Bishop of Llandaff but many other varieties are equally stunning; Bishop of Canterbury, Caribbean Fantasy, Fascination, Karma Choc, Moon Fire, Procyon and Swan Lake are well worth a look. These are very easy to grow in borders or containers but do require winter protection in exposed areas. TIP: Buy these now as when they flower they usually sell out!