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Gardener's Diary July 2006


Sixty third edition -  July 2006    

I'm very pleased to see that the greenfly and other nuisances that plagued my plants a few years ago have now completely vanished.. I had listened to Alan Titchmarsh's view that by letting nature take it's course the garden would find it's own balance.. By spraying against greenfly and other pests, not only was I killing the good bugs along with the bad bugs, but I was depriving the birds of food with which to feed their young...  Now, our garden is buzzing with birds, butterflies and ladybirds, and there is not a greenfly in sight! 

I have put a timely reminder here about water conservation and weeding


An introduction from Rosemary Martin...

I have been gardening now as a hobby for about thirty years, but have no formal training..  I don't have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice, but I also think the modern trends work well. 

This column adds a new dimension to my interest in all aspects of horticulture and will hopefully help others find pleasure in this healthy and therapeutic pastime  ...  

Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife, remembering to tell me which country you are from..  


Click here for previous editions of Gardener's Diary..

Jobs for the garden in July


House plants

This is the month when your houseplants are likely to be attacked by pests such as aphids, red spider mite and mealy bug. One of my larger succulents in the conservatory was found to be covered in white cotton wool like fluff which turned out to be mealy bug infestation. I picked them all off with a cotton wool bud and quarantined the plant. Check all your houseplants thoroughly and treat according to your gardening book recommendations if infestations are found.


A lawn is only as good as it`s edges, and if the edges are crumbly, ragged and uneven, the effect is spoilt. Once or twice a year cut any overhanging grass with either a strimmer, or a long-handled pair of shears, and straighten the edges with either a straight bladed spade, a proprietary lawn edger or a special half-moon turfer (turfing iron) If you have straight borders you will avoid getting wavy edges if you put a marking line down.

Herbaceous borders

Enjoy the colourful borders this month, taking care to cut off flowers as they fade. This serves as a dual purpose in removing unsightly dead blooms and also encouraging more new flowers. Some perennials should be lifted and divided every few years at this time, so check this out in your gardening book. Feed plants if necessary with a preparation such as "Miracle -Gro" which can be applied with a dispenser that attaches to the hose pipe. Mulch borders if possible.


Don`t neglect routine weeding which may be necessary at this time of year to prevent weed seedlings germinating. Mulch the ground around the crops to prevent water loss using grass cuttings if required, but not if it has recently been treated with a weed killer. Usually after 4 mowings grass it will be safe to use as a mulch.


Fish may still spawn until August, so be careful not to lose any tiny, newly hatched fry if you are disturbing the water in your pond. Don`t let blanket weed smother your fish and plants, hook it out with a stick, taking care not to catch any frogs or fish in it.. Watch out for any water snails that have been introduced into your pond through new planting, for they may eat the plants. Although most types of snails usually do a good job consuming decaying plant or animal remains, they are not all pond friendly.


I love watching the wildlife in our garden: the blackbirds busy turfing the bark off the borders, looking for food for their young, the other birds with their youngsters, the fox that has his route through our garden every night, the hedgehog in the evening and butterflies during the day. But mostly I love watching my dog watching all of the other creatures. He seems fascinated by them all and their audacity at intruding in her domain. It is a constant drama unfolding.



Amazon book - Gardens of the National Trust. When the National Trust decided to take on the care of gardens, the aim was that these would be the very best of their kind in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Trust now has the finest collection of gardens ever assembled under one ownership..

Climate change: here and now

Climate change is one of the world’s greatest challenges. It is also one of the National Trust's biggest challenges.

The impacts of climate change in the UK are increasingly affecting the historic buildings, gardens, countryside and coast in our care.




The Yellow Book: NGS Gardens Open for CharityRHS gardens

Their four flagship gardens not only provide year-round interest and offer a wide range of courses, talks and demonstrations, they also demonstrate the best gardening practices, new techniques and exciting new plants to try in your garden.

Or go to their website for a diary of all other events at:-


Essential gardening dates for July:


Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

4 - 9 July 2006

The Hampton Court Palace and surrounding parkland provide an idyllic setting for the world’s largest horticultural show.
RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park

19 - 23 July 2006

Set in over 20 acres of magnificent parkland, this flower show offers a wealth of gardening opportunities for all gardeners.



Do you take advantage of the BBC Gardening website for information? I find it a valuable source of information, for up to date legislation, countryside matters and useful information such as plant pests and diseases, which saves me ploughing through all my gardening books, with the knowledge that their information is bang up to date...


Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming Please tell me which country you live in as knowing the climate can help me solve your problem. Your current email address is necessary as my replies are occasionally returned to me as undeliverable..


Thompson & Morgan LogoThompson & Morgan 


Visit where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line.  Have a look to see what is new and any special seasonal offers


Some places to visit...  Visit the Eden Project


The living theatre of plants and people
The Eden Project is a gateway into the world of plants and people. A meeting place for all to discover how we depend on plants and how we can help to manage and conserve them for our mutual survival.


Kew Gardens two locations:-

Tel: 020 8332 5655 (24 hr)
Fax: 020 8332 5197

Royal Botanic Gardens

Tel: 01444 894066 (24 hr)
Fax: 01444 894069

Royal Botanic Gardens
Wakehurst Place
Nr Haywards Heath
West Sussex
RH17 6TN


The National Botanic Gardens of Scotland comprise:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scotland's Premier Garden

Benmore Botanic Garden, Argyll
Argyll's Magnificent Mountainside Garden

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Borders
Wonderful Woodland Garden

Logan Botanic Garden, Galloway
Scotland's Most Exotic Garden

The National Botanic Garden of WalesThe National Botanic Garden of Wales

The star attraction here is the 91 metre long domed glasshouse, that houses landscapes normally found in the Mediterranean. This would be a super place to visit on a chilly day...



Some websites of interest to gardeners:-


Carry on Gardening - The easier gardening web site from ThriveGardening is an important part of many people's lives. You don't have to give up gardening because of accident or illness, the onset of disability or the problems associated with growing older. The information on their website is designed to provide you with the information to Carry on Gardening.

Carry on Gardening was initiated by the horticultural charity Thrive and is funded by the National Lottery Charities Board.  It brings together information on easy ways of gardening gathered over 23 years by Thrive and research carried out since the early 1970s by Mary Marlborough Centre, Oxford, on tools and equipment for disabled and older people. 



Useful reading:-

"The Yellow Book" contains information of all Gardens of England and Wales open for charity, and can be bought priced ?5 from National Gardens Scheme

National Trust Gardens Handbook is ?6.99 and the new edition is out in May  Telephone 01394 389 950 or see their website

Amazon book - A year at Kew  Amazon book - Gardens Through Time: 200 Years of the English Garden Amazon book - RHS Plants for Places: 1000 Tried and Tested Plants for Every Soil, Site and Usage (RHS) Amazon book - RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening: RHS Bi-centennial Edition (Royal Horticultural Society)
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