It’s July and for me it means not only busy in the garden keeping it lovely and tidy and watered but it is Britain in Bloom judging time! I’m judging the South and South east of England from Rochester to Christchurch and half a dozen places in between! Watch out south coast resorts!
I love judging, we get to see real community gardens many maintained by volunteers but whoever is looking after them, all are enthusiastic! Some a lot more than others! This year for the first time I’m judging neighbourhood gardening. Some are front gardens in streets.
It’s amazing what a name can do! One area I am going to is called “Full Frontal” The name portrays an area rather than a street that many streets can join in. If you name your area as “The residents of Magnolia Way” you will only really ever get residents of that street enter but with a more generic name you will attract a lot more. And isn’t that he idea?
- Lift, divide and replant congested flag irises after flowering
- Deadhead border perennials like delphiniums and lupins to encourage a second flush of blooms
- Pick dead flowers off rhododendrons
- Deadhead roses to encourage more flowers
- Cut back ceanothus, weigela, escallonia and kerria where necessary to control growth.
- Water all ericaceous (lime-hating) shrubs, including camellias and rhododendrons, with a generous helping of sequestrene plant tonic, Miracid or a similar fertiliser specially formulated for acid lovers
- Tie in developing stems of dahlias to supports
Fruit and Vegetable Garden
- Spray potatoes and outdoor tomatoes with Bordeaux mixture or similar to prevent blight
- Thin heavy crops of apples, pears and plums
- Tie in new raspberry canes to support wires
- Cover brassicas with fine netting to prevent cabbage white butterflies laying their eggs on the leaves
- Keep sowing parsley to ensure a continuous supply
- Cut down unwanted raspberry canes at soil level
- Sow cabbages to pick as spring greens
- Hoe a little fertiliser into the soil between rows of onions as you weed
- Peg down strawberry runners into pots of soil to root new plants. Only ever propagate from healthy, disease-free stock. After fruiting, trim off all strawberry foliage with shears
- Sow seeds of vegetables now, including beetroot, cabbages, endive, kohl rabi, lettuce, radish, rocket, spinach, swede and turnips
- Pinch out tomato side shoots developing from the main stem
- Fit automatic vent openers to help control air flow and fit extra low-level louvre vents if required
- Tie in tomato shoots to their supports. Water daily to prevent the compost drying out, which can cause split fruits and blossom end rot
- Thin out bunches of grapes with pointed scissors
- Pinch out shoot tips on coleus to encourage plants to branch, and remove any flowers that form
- Propagate pelargoniums from cuttings during July and August to grow strongly rooted plants that will survive the winter
- Feed crops in growing bags and pots every week
- Watch out for vine weevil beetles and larvae, and treat compost with a suitable product such as Provado Vine Weevil Killer 2
Don’t forget you can hear me every Sunday 10 am to 12 noon for all your gardening questions answered.
Have a great week and see you next time.