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July Monthly Inspiration
July Gardening Tips
After the dry spell in late spring the hydrangeas have been slow to come into flower this year. Those of you who follow my daily pictorial Garden Diary will have seen images of three different hydrangea flowers still showing full colour in early January after a frost free autumn and winter. Pride of place amongst them was 'Mme E Mouillere' whose huge white mophead flowers were then unblemished. 'Geoffrey Chadbund' was not far behind. Needless to say these plants are still having a rest and will not be out until later in the month.
First to colour up at Burncoose this summer has been the pale blue Hydrangea ‘Joseph Banks’ on the drive. The plant was photographed in the 1890s and features in an early edition of ‘The Garden’ published then (as now) by the RHS. The clump is a bit smaller today but just as eye catching 130 years on. Pruning to ground level every 10 to 15 years has maintained its vigour and proves the longevity of hydrangeas.
Time now to think about pruning out your Lupin and delphinium flower spikes as soon as they are genuinely over. With us they were out earlier in May than usual. This simple task prevents the plants wasting energy on producing seed and tidies up the dead heads. More importantly it will encourage young plants to produce new side shoots with the energy saved. These may even give you a small second show of flowers by September but the plants will be set fair for producing even larger clumps of flowers next year.
Watch out for the first signs of red spider mite, mealy bugs or whitefly on your best conservatory plants. Make sure some shading is in place and keep the greenhouse doors and windows open, especially in damp spells. Good airflow helps reduce scorching and will reduce pest attacks especially by red spider mites who thrive in very hot dry conditions. If a plant is badly affected move it outside the greenhouse for a week or two and try to squash the offenders if you can. Otherwise you will need to use a current and approved insecticide. Mealy bugs can be tackled with a solution of turpentine or alcohol.
Time to start deadheading your roses and remove any ripening seed heads on your rhododendrons.