Garden Notes for July

This is a good time of year to enjoy the fruits of the garden, whether feeding the body or the soul. Strawberries just about managed to keep producing till Wimbledon and a good crop of raspberries have given way to an abundance of currants and plums. My white ‘Iceberg’ rose is still in flower, having begun when the snowdrops were still out and the late clematis, the texensis, are already nodding in the breeze. Their little deep pink bells are not as spectacular as the main season clematis but they seem to last longer and are very pretty.

Oriental poppies have finished flowering and are looking dry, brown and tatty. When my children were small we had a garden crammed full of these. Every year at this time we had a ‘poppy pulling’ day when all the stems and leaves were pulled up. It didn’t seem to harm the plants and there were just as many each following year.

If you are still using your rhubarb it is time to stop and let the plants recover for next year. The summer fruiting raspberry canes need to be cut right down when you and the birds have had all the fruit. When they are out of the way the new canes can be tied in. If you are thinking of putting in fruit bushes I noticed that Cathy has quite a few still at the nursery. It is the easiest way to grow your own produce with very little actual gardening work!

Bearded iris have flowered well but should be refreshed every 3 to 5 years. Dig them up and cut the old rhizomes away cleanly, selecting the best, plumpest pieces to re-plant. Cut off the top half of the leaves and set them down in soil which has had compost, bone meal or other fertilizer added. The tops should be above ground level and the roots firmed into the soil. I always try to plant them so that the sun shines directly on the rhizome. They love a good baking. Water them till the roots become established. It seems brutal but next year they will be spectacular.

If you want to be ahead of yourself take cuttings of pelargoniums (geraniums). 2-3 inch long pieces without a flower. Push four to five pieces down the side of a pot and keep watered. They should be rooted and ready for potting on by the autumn. Keep in a frost free place till next spring. Last winter was so mild that many plants left outside survived to flower another day but that was exceptional.

Make sure you have a seat in the garden to enjoy the rest of this lovely summer.. Marion,

Vegetable plants available from Spring/Summer 2014

CropAvailable from:Approx cost
Broad Beanslate March£1 for 4
Lettucelate March£1.50 for 6
Salad Leaveslate March£1.50 for 6
Peasearly April£1.50 for 50cm
Mangetout & Snap Peasmid April£1.50
Tomatoesmid May£1.00
Chardmid May25p
Dwarf French Beanslate May£1 for 4
Climbing French Beanslate May£1 for 4
Runner Beanslate May£1 for 4
Leekslate May£1 a pot
Courgettelate May£1.00
Cucumberlate May£1.00/ £1.50
Peppers (Sweet & Chilli)late May£1.00
Aubergineslate May£1.00
Squashlate May£1.00
Rhubarbearly June£1
Sweet Cornearly June£1 for 4
Florence Fennelmid June25p