This Month’s Flower & Border Gardening Tips from Linda

AUGUST GARDENING TIPS

Prune rambling roses as most only flower once during the summer. Thin out one in three of the oldest stems at the base. Shorten flowered side-shoots by two thirds. Tie in new shoots.

Start planning next year’s spring bulbs. In August, you can start planning daffodils, crocuses and alliums. If you have given over part of your garden to create a wildflower area, this can now be cut if the flowers have finished. Leave the clipping in place to encourage self seeding.

If you are going away on holiday and don’t have anybody to do your watering, then group all your pots in a shady spot and make sure they are well watered before you leave. Wrapping porous pots in bubble wrap will help to slow down evaporation and standing the pots on a pile of soggy newspapers will help too.

 

There is still time to sow fast growing annual seeds such as calendula and cosmos to provide colour until the first frosts. Also sow seeds of wallflowers, foxgloves and delphiniums for flowering next spring. 

This is a good time to trim back overgrown alpines and fill in any bare patches with gritty compost. Rock plants such as aubretia, helianthemums and dianthus can be dug up, split and cuttings taken at this time. 

If you have any houseplants that have not enjoyed a spell outside then August is a good month to give them an outdoor break. They should be checked over for any pests and repotted in fresh compost. 

JULY GARDENING TIPS

We might feel that the hard work in our gardens is largely over but there is still plenty to be done! 

July is the month to prune early-summer flowering shrubs such as Weigela, Philadelphus and Deutzia. Start by cutting out any weak or diseased stems. Then tackle the old wood which can be cut out at ground level to create space for new shoots and to allow better air circulation. Aim to remove up to one in five of these older stalks. The remaining stems can be cut back by up to a third of their length, cutting just above a strong bud. After pruning give the shrubs a good watering and apply a mulch to help retain moisture.

Keep deadheading roses and give them plenty of water to deter powdery mildew. Any leaves with blackspot or rust should be picked off and put into a green recycling bin. It is also worth remembering that hanging baskets and containers can dry out very quickly and probably need watering each day. They also benefit from a weekly feed of a liquid fertiliser containing potassium to encourage lots of flowers.
 
To keep colour going into the winter, plant autumn-flowering bulbs such as autumn crocus, colchicums and nerines in a warm, sunny spot. With luck we will get some sunny days to enjoy some al fresco lunches and have time to simply enjoy the sight and smell of an English garden in high summer.

Cut back hardy geraniums and delphiniums to encourage fresh regrowth. Give them a feed though.

Apply liquid plant food or granular growmore food to keep everything healthy especially in lighter soils.

Give later performing plants like Sedums plenty of room by cutting back the space invader neighbours.

Dead head peonies and pull out old Allium stems when they have turned yellow.

Try mulching around plants to retain moisture in the soil.

 

JUNE GARDENING TIPS

I always think that June is the busiest month in the garden and hope that hard work put in now will mean that I can relax in the sunshine during July. It never quite pans out that way but it is certainly worth putting in a bit extra effort this month.

The early spring bulbs that may be looking untidy in your lawn can now be mown and your lawn will soon be looking tidy once more. Be careful to mow round any daffodil or other bulbs that are still looking a healthy green as the bulbs will still be storing energy through their leaves to produce vibrant flowers next year. A couple of days after being cut the lawn will benefit from a sprinkling with lawn feed which should be watered in if no rain is forecast. It is worth remembering that lawns look better if they are cut little and often rather being scalped once a fortnight!

The danger of a late frost means that many of us are still planting out bedding plants grown under cover from seed. Whist we are doing this it is worth hoeing between established plants to keep the weeds at bay. Also look under spreading herbaceous plants such as perennial geraniums for weeds hiding underneath. They often get missed until suddenly a tall thistle head emerges.

These days we are rightly taking a more organic approach to gardening and I do not recommend the use of chemicals to control pests. Aphids for example are a valuable food source for small garden birds and beneficial insects such as ladybirds and hoverfly larvae. If they are too much to tolerate on your prized plants then simply squash them by hand being careful not to damage the stems or buds.

Most plants will benefit from regular deadheading which will encourage more flowers to be produced. In the same way it is important to regularly pick herbs to keep the plants compact and productive. Many herbs can be chopped and put in the freezer if not going to be used in cooking straightaway.The blue flowers from borage look lovely frozen in ice cubes and added to a gin and tonic.

If you want to keep colour in your garden into the autumn there is still time to sow fast-growing hardy annuals such as clarkia, calendula and candytuft for late summer flowering. And to keep the garden bright into winter now is the time to sow winter-flowering pansies and polyanthus. If you have established primroses and polyanthus already these can be split and spread around your garden too.

Happy gardening!

Thanks to LInda in Great Shefford for sharing her monthly tips with us. 

If you have any questions for Linda please comment below.

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