LATE JULY TASKS FOR YOUR GARDEN
- Shorten half the shoots on broom and genista to encourage new growth.
- Thin heavy fruit crops, picking off the smallest. Aim to leave developing fruits about 10-15cm apart along the stems, perhaps thinning congested spurs down to just a single fruit.
- Sow seed of herbs now, including basil, parsley, and coriander.
- Sow vegetable seeds now, including endive, lettuce and salad leaves, beetroot, radishes, spring cabbages, kohl rabi, Swiss chard, winter spinach, Oriental greens, spring onions, turnips.
- Summer prune your wisteria.
- Water tomatoes regularly to prevent fruit splitting and blossom end rot.
- Spray potatoes and outdoor tomatoes with Bordeaux mixture to prevent blight.
How to summer prune your wisteria
Summer pruning wisteria encourages the development of short-flowering spurs that will carry the long racemes of bloom in spring. To be less technical if you neglect to prune you will have little or no flowers next year. The long vigorous shoots are cut back to a couple of buds from the base of the current season's growth. During initial training of young wisteria plants, select a few strong shoots to tie into wires or trellis. Once you have created these, you can prune any sideshoots back to this framework. Use secateurs to cut back all the long shoots that have been produced during the late spring and early summer. Make the cut just beyond the second or third bud from the base. Make sure that your secateurs are sharp when cutting back the long shoots of climbers as it's easy to crush or tear the stems, which may lead to die-back. Don’t waste these as green, leafy summer prunings from wisteria can be added to the compost heap where they'll rot down quickly.
Hydrangeas explode with colour in July in gardens around the country. All looking great right up until autumn. Their ability to weather wintry conditions of late and still produce blooms each year means they are a must for any garden. Some varieties perform better than others in the midlands so we no longer stock them, instead we now concentrate on finding different colour shades of the species that do well. At their best for mass landscaping and border planting, however because of their long season of bloom, they are also great in a container. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from different shapes as well as different colours. We have a lovely one at the moment called hydrangea quercifolia (oakleaf hydrangea) that will have stunning autumn foliage colour, definitely one to add to your collection.