July Gardening.

We’ve finally arrived at peak gardening season and the question of ‘what to do first’ is on every gardener’s mind! The garden is bursting with life and you’ll need to keep watering, feeding and dead-heading to keep them growing well. Keep an eye on pests and diseases which can quickly take hold.
Alpines are possibly the most charming plants you can grow and due to their resilient nature make the ideal plants for amateur gardeners. Despite their compact size and delicate appearance many alpines are extremely hardy and best of all they thrive in poor, nutrient lacking soil that has excellent drainage (sound familiar!)
In the wild, alpines grow in mountainous regions at high altitudes and are used to growing in extreme temperatures. They survive cold climates by using their size to their advantage. Because they are so small the wind barely touches them and they are able to carry the heavy weight of snow without being damaged. Where hot sun is present their small hairy or leathery leaves protect them from losing water.
When choosing alpines always check if the species is garden tolerant or specialist as they will require different treatments and conditions. Specialist alpines are usually grown in an alpine house. For the purposes of this article I will concentrate on garden species.
Alpines can be used in various locations in the garden, rockeries and butler sinks are classic examples and they also make excellent ground cover for front of borders. Some of the ground covering species such as aubretia and snow-in-summer often look straggly after flowering but they will respond well to pruning back by at least 1/3 after flowering.
Top Rockery Plants for Beginners:
• Aubrietia are low growing plants with purple or mauve flowers. After flowering they should be cut well back to encourage compact plants.
• Saxifraga has numerous species, about 300, all suitable for the rock garden.
• Campanula, small harebells are a delight in the rockery.
• The majority of Dianthus species are suitable for the rockery
• Ajuga reptans (bugle) colourful foliage and blue flowers.
• Sedum is a huge family of plants, there are many varieties suitable for the rockery.
• Helianthemum (rock rose) fast growing, dwarf evergreen flowering shrubs.
• Sempervivum (house leek) evergreen fleshy-leaved rosette forming succulents.
Top Tips for July:
• Prune Wisteria now. Remove the whippy side-shoots from the main branch framework to about 20cm from their base (about five leaves from the main stem)
• Dead-head bedding plants and perennial plants to stop them setting seed and to encourage further flowering.
• Apply a high-potash fertiliser once fruits start to form on peppers, cucumber and tomatoes.
• Camelias, Rhododendrons and Azaleas will be forming their flowers for next year now so keep them well hydrated.
• Regularly pick runner and French beans and courgette’s to encourage further cropping.
• Surplus strawberry runners should be removed by cutting them close to the plants
• Baskets and containers can dry out quickly in warm, sunny conditions and may need watering twice a day. Feed regularly to promote flowering.
Whatever July brings I hope you get a chance to step out into the sunshine and enjoy the season as you tackle this months gardening jobs.
Rachel Sobiechowski BSc (Hons) P&R Garden Supplies, Fengate Drove, Brandon 01842 814800 www.p-rgardensupplies.co.uk

Leave a Reply