TIPS FOR MID JULY
  • Pinch outside shoots of tomatoes to increase yields and keep feeding with tomato feed.
  • Stay on high alert, the war on slugs continues.
  • Pot up houseplants that have become top heavy or pot bound.
  • Be on the lookout for developing pest problems and take action.
  • Re-seed bare patches in lawns.
  • Treat weeds with a lawn weed killer before they get a firm foothold.
  • Sow seeds of herbs, including basil, parsley and coriander.
  • Bury shoot tips of blackberries and peg them down to raise new plants.
  • Keep an eye on your greenhouse or tunnel. Ventilate daily and add extra shading if temperatures get too high.
  • Cut back pansies that look straggly to encourage new growth.
  • 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.
  • Trim conifers and other garden hedges.

We in the midlands are so lucky to have our lovely lakes and rivers to revive us in this glorious weather. There is I find nothing more relaxing than the sound of a trickling stream. Throughout the centuries the addition of a water feature in garden design was extremely important in fact garden design at its pinnacle revolves around water. Some of the great gardens of Europe manipulated the natural course of rivers to create lakes and waterfalls for their own pleasure; of course I’m not suggesting you to this! But you can create a very pleasing natural water feature which involves more work than money. Its success will be measured by the amount of planning you do. Decide on your format, is it going to be formal or natural, of course this will be influenced by your site i.e. if you have a slopping site you can create a waterfall quite easily.  Do some research before you start one or two good landscape books on the subject will point you in the right direction regarding the feature best suited to your garden. Also consider if you are going to include fish in your pool. Filtration is very important, make sure to get some professional advice. Growing plants in and around water will bring you into a whole new world of gardening, usually I would be telling you to pick a sunny well drained position for your plants but not this time as water plants are the other end of the spectrum. Many of them growing directly in the water, which in turn helps keep the water clear as well as looking beautiful. I always look forward to the first water lily to flower as it marks the beginning of summer to me and on evenings like we’ve just had you reap the rewards of your labours. 

July