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Gardening This Summer

1st of July 2011

The elements have been very kind to gardeners this year. Although it has been on the
dry side we did have rain in June and who knows what we will have in July and
August. Attacks by slugs and snails have been less but caterpillars and bugs have been
more active.

Flowers and shrubs.
There should still be a few bedding plants in the garden centres
in July if there are gaps to fill or beds to plant out. Perennials, such as penstemmons, and most container grown shrubs, roses, climbers and alpines can be planted. Water very thoroughly and then only if absolutely necessary. It will not be long before daffodil and tulip bulbs will be on sale; it is a good idea to buy early while the choice is at its best but it is far too early to plant bulbs, with the exception of autumn flowering types. Sow wallflowers, sweet williams and Canterbury bells as soon as possible. Prune shrubs after flowering and trim lavenders. Roses need to be sprayed against black spot, mildew, rust and insect pests using Roseclear or the like every three weeks. Hollyhocks and campanulas are prone to rust and Roseclear can be used. Feed roses and shrubs with Toprose or Vitax Q4 and azaleas and camellias with an ericaceous feed. Water hanging baskets and containers regularly. Keep up with the
weeding and dead heading. Now is the best time to take hardwood cuttings of shrubs
and perennials.

Vegetables and fruit.
Water regularly, especially tomatoes. Feed vegetables with Growmore or a liquid feed. Tomatoes need a high potash feed such as Tomorite. Keep hoeing the weeds. Watch out for cabbage white butterflies; their caterpillars will ruin brassica crops. Prune soft fruit and cut out old canes of raspberries after fruiting and tie in the new canes. Do not prune autumn fruiting raspberries. Sow late beet and some brassicas and sow salads such as lettuce, radish and parsley regularly. The greenhouse needs ventilation and auto-vents will certainly help.

The lawn.
Cut regularly and set the mower to ensure the lawn is never cut too short in hot dry weather. Do not water lawns unless laying turf or sowing new areas and then only water thoroughly a couple of times. Use an after-cut lawn feed from time to time except in very dry weather. Top up the pond and put out water for the birds.

Gardens and shows.
Work in progress in Maria Coote’s garden at Heath End can be seen on 17 July. Also open on that day are Mahogany Hall and Burford House.9 Tannsfield Drive, Hemel Hempstead, is open on 30 July and 7 August; Patchwork, Hall Park Gate, Berkhamstead, on 21 August. The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is from 5-10 July and the R.H.S. Flower Show, Tatton Park, is from 20-24 July. Tickets for both: tel 0844 338 7539; The ever popular plant fair at Chenies Manor is on 17 July.
Terry Simmonds

This page is edited by Tony

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