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Your Garden This Summer

2nd of July 2007

After months of planting and tending, the bedding schemes, hanging baskets and window boxes should now be at their best. Now they will need watering and feeding and of course the odd weed will need to be removed. The herbaceous border will be full of late summer colour but will need dead-heading and feeding and perhaps watering occasionally. Keep on top of the weeding throughout the garden. If you have put down mulches there will be less watering and weeding to do and of course mulching can still be done, the thicker the layer the better it will be. In the vegetable garden it is time to sow spring cabbage and peas, parsley and salads can be sown too. Onions can start to be lifted soon. Water regularly, especially runner beans and tomatoes and watch out for the Cabbage White caterpillars on brassicas and nasturtiums.
Spray roses against black spot, mildew and rust every couple of weeks and feed occasionally with Toprose fertilizer which is a useful food to use on flower beds and shrubs too. Shrubs will need to be pruned after flowering, lavender will need a light trimming and rambling roses will need to be cut back. Cut out the old canes of raspberries after they have fruited and tie in the new ones. Hedges will need to be cut. Regularly cut the lawn but in hot weather do not cut too short. There are now new lawn mowers which mulch as they cut and the finely chopped grass clippings they leave help keep the lawns green even in dry weather. Never, never water established lawns.
This is the best time to take hardwood cuttings of shrubs and conifer, and cuttings of pelargoniums can be taken now. Irises can be lifted and divided now. The spring-flowering bulbs will soon be in the shops but it is too early to plant narcissi and tulips. Hyacinths for growing in bowls indoors will soon need to go in and autumn-flowering crocus and colchicums need to be planted as soon as possible. Keep the pond topped up with water and make sure there is water for the birds.
This is the traditional holiday time and if you are going away do water as much of the garden as possible before you leave and arrange for a friend or nice neighbour to water and ventilate the greenhouse in your absence. The garden centre has a range of watering devices operated by a small computer which will help look after your special plants while you are away.
On Sunday 1 July there are four gardens to see here in Chipperfield. Then on 15 July the garden at The Barn, Bovingdon, will be open. During August open gardens include those at Hyde House, West Hyde, Rickmansworth on 5 August; Patchwork, Hall Park Gate, Berkhamsted, on 19 August; and the Abbots House at Abbots Langley on 26 August. The famous Chenies Manor Plant Fair is on Sunday 15 July. The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is from Tuesday 3 to Sunday 8 July (ticket hotline 0870 906 3728) and the RHS Show at Tatton Park is from Wednesday 18 to Sunday 22 July (ticket hotline 0870 842 2229).
Terry Simmonds

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