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Gardener's Diary 

                                 July   2007


Seventy fifth edition -  July 2007  


RHS Plant Finder 2007-2008 (Rhs)

July should be one of one of your favourite months in the garden. After all the hard work of recent weeks, now is the time to relax and just enjoy the rewards of your labour.

Find a peaceful part of your garden with the best view, plonk a sun lounger there and spend some time just relaxing... Let the gardening jobs wait... 


This is a month of lazy days and barbecues, and the time of year when I walk around the garden, savouring the sights, smells and sounds and wishing I could bottle it all to last me through the winter months. 

I occasionally wish for a warmer climate, but on balance prefer our cooler temperatures and diversity of seasons and landscapes. 

July Spotlight


This month, despite all the wet weather and flooding that many parts of the UK suffered in June, I will give some tips on water conservation in the garden because, despite a surplus of water, you can be sure there will be a shortage before too long; plus some advice on that never ending task of weeding, and how the two topics relate to each other..



Jobs for the month - July 


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..

The vegetable patch

Mulching vegetables with lawn mowings will suppress weeds and keep moisture in the soil. Although it is midsummer and you will already be harvesting many of your crops, there are still many seeds which can be sown at this time of year, including of course salad crops which turn around pretty quickly and which you can be sure are chemical-free.  Spring cabbage can be sown in nursery beds now and transplanted later, but other brassicas will need planting out now..  Brassicas, especially broccoli, need a firm soil, never newly dug or manured soil. Broccoli does best on heavy yet well drained loam which had been manured for a previous crop. Cut courgettes regularly or they will not produce well and ensure they have frequent waterings with liquid manure.

Tomatoes in your greenhouse should be watered daily with as much water as they can take.


Hanging baskets, tubs and window boxes 

In hot dry spells, you will need to water sometimes as often as twice a day. Regular deadheading will help keep the plants flowering profusely. If you are going on holiday and have nobody to water your hanging baskets, remove them to a shady corner of the garden and stand them over a bucket of water. Or take them into the shade and cool of the house.


Many parts of the UK have recently suffered from severe flooding, but the water does drain away fairly quickly and when you have time to apply it, lawns will respond well to a `Weed and feed` which can be used until September, and which will revitalise and strengthen the roots.. The application on my lawn in the spring failed to kill off the clover which became very pronounced when it flowered, so I used Verdone Lawn weedkiller diluted in a 5 litre pump action sprayer, which killed the clover almost instantly. I also use Verdone spot weeder for lawns on those elusive weeds in the lawn that always seem to survive. ..See weeding help


Any flowering shrubs that have finished blooming can be pruned now and will enjoy an overhead watering with a fine mist, on hot days.


We have squirrels in our garden this year, which has solved the mystery of the many broken and eaten plants. But no matter, they are welcome visitors and lovely to watch. The garden is full of slugs and snails unfortunately, but again, they will have to stay as I cannot put down slug pellets in case they harm the dogs... The broken shells, sharp gravel, or ring of salt around the plants planted in paved areas has really helped keep the hostas slug and snail free..

Ponds and water features

Ponds and Lakes (Usborne Spotter's Guide)

This is fish-spawning time of year so take care to ensure your pond is well oxygenated. If you are removing blanket weed or other debris from your pond, do take care not to remove any baby frogs or fish fry that may be caught up in it. Feed your fish their maximum quota this month. 

If you have a water feature the water can evaporate very quickly if the spray is set too high and doesn`t return to the reservoir it is stored in, or if the weather is very hot. So check the levels frequently. I find visiting small children love to touch water features and changing the water frequently helps keep a fairly germ free environment.. I have a pebble fountain and put some blue food colouring in the water which made it a beautiful fresh turquoise colour..



House plants 


Take care not to let houseplants burn this month,  ensuring good air circulation and plenty of watering, with the occasional misting. Some of my succulents appeared to have a problem with the white mealy bug, while other house plants in the conservatory had the beginnings of red spider mite. I don`t like using chemicals so therefore was pleased to find a spray called "Nature`s Answer" made by The Scotts Company (UK) Limited and containing nothing more innocuous than fatty acids and sulphur, a mineral that occurs in nature. This spray worked a treat and was suitable for all my houseplants, but apparently not for ferns. I was disappointed to find that the very heavy hailstones we had a few weeks ago damaged a couple of my larger houseplants that were spending the summer outside on the patio. The not so tough leaves of the Cordyline and Swiss Cheese plant have been sort of 'pebbledashed', but will grow out with time! 



A nice easy maintenance job with a hoe this month that will prevent seedlings from germinating and show your neighbours what an industrious person you are! See here for more weeding suggestions..

Happy gardening till next month....


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..

Volunteering with the National Trust

Volunteers are active in all parts of the National Trust, from the new central office in Swindon to the summits of Snowdonia and Divis Mountain near Belfast.

View their latest opportunities, or find out more about the kind of roles and different places you can volunteer:

Still with the National Trust, some of the most visited National Trust properties are now holding regular farmers' and food markets.  Click here for details  and dates.



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:-


RHS Flower Shows 2007


Tickets for RHS members

Privilege rate tickets are available for RHS members to all RHS shows, but tickets must be booked in advance. Click on the individual show links below for further information.
RHS members are not charged a booking fee for tickets purchased except for advanced tickets to the Malvern shows. To find out how to become an RHS member click here


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...


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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