With the warm summer days ahead of us, July is the perfect time to start creating a colourful garden.
If gardening is a newly discovered hobby, the experts at Dobbies Garden Centres have put together their guide for beginner gardeners this July.
Here are five tips to make your garden bloom:
One of the main tasks this month is to keep your plants and flowers hydrated. In the height of summer, your garden is less likely to get what it needs naturally from rainwater. Avoid the hottest part of the day when it will quickly evaporate and water daily, in the early morning or early evening. This will allow a chance for plant roots to take in what they need. Make sure water is directed at the base of plants, rather than over the top.
Remove faded flowers and dead blooms, this will not only avoid an untidy garden, it is also essential to encourage new growth. Regularly dead-heading flower borders will extend the flowering season well into autumn, particularly for Dahlias, Roses and cottage garden perennials. Spending just five to ten minutes a day with your gardening gloves on and flower scissors in hand will make this a quick and manageable job.
What to plant
Forget-me-not seeds can be sown outside from May to September and are ideal for beds and borders. Growing well in most soils, they will flower between April and June next year. Summer bedding plants will add a quick burst of colour, brightening up a patio, windowsill, or balcony — you won’t find a more low-maintenance group of plants. Popular annuals include — Busy Lizzies, Begonias and Petunias.
Keep weeds at bay
On a hot day, the last thing you will want to be doing is weeding, but there are things you can do to reduce the time keeping them under control. Add a layer of mulch to soil and the top of containers to help keep soil cool and moist, depriving weeds of light which they need to grow. Wet the soil thoroughly before laying down mulch.
If you are new to gardening and your outdoor space is very overgrown, daily weeding is likely to be needed. Start with a small area first and for the rest of the garden, mow weedy areas until you have the time to tackle them properly.
Be water wise
Save water by switching off the water sprinkler and holding off using the hosepipe, or washing the car. Make the most of rainfall by installing a water butt, which will mean you don’t end up with a garden full of parched plants in the event of a heatwave or hosepipe ban. Another benefit a water butt brings is that plants actually prefer rainwater, as it is naturally the correct pH for most plants.
Growing your own?
- If you have sown tomatoes in spring, then they should be growing well now — and you will need to water regularly. Add a high potash tomato feed for healthy growth and to boost your crop. Pinch out the side-shoots, as this will help concentrate growing energy into clusters of fruit.
- If you’ve been growing your own herbs, why not freeze some of your freshly picked harvest this month? Extending your supply once summer comes to an end, herbs that are frozen will keep their fresh flavour and simple and quick to do. Future you will thank past you for doing so when you are enjoying a delicious side of fresh mint sauce with a winter roast!
Chop herbs, place on a metal tray, then pop in the freezer. This will stop herbs from getting stuck together. Transfer to freezer bags once frozen. For even easier freezer pickings, store in ice cube trays — especially good for mint in your summer cocktails.
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