July is the month where those climbers which die down to ground level in Winter suddenly surprise you with a long display of flowers. Make sure the trellis or support is there for them to ‘strut their stuff’ properly.
As Summer draws on the next serious pest to watch out for is mealy bug. Mealy bugs thrive on plants with dead leaves especially in full sun. When out of control they form big white clumps of bugs and their sticky secretions kill the leaves below. Hoyas and Fremontodendrons are especially prone to mealy bug. If the problem is spotted in time crush the bugs between your fingers. When faced with more serious infestations stand the plants outside where birds may help eat the bugs and cooler conditions will inhibit reproduction. Alternatively and to prevent further spread into other adjacent plants cut out and burn the infected areas and then spray regularly with an insecticide.
The last of the scented Rhododendrons to flower is Rhododendron megacalyx. This plant is too tender to be grown outside even in Cornwall but what a show!
Ants can be a serious pest in the greenhouse where they control aphids colonies and feed on their secretions.