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Gardener's Diary            July

Gardener`s Diary is a regular feature of run by Rosemary Martin, who is semi retired.  She says anyone can enjoy gardening whether they have a large or small garden, can`t tell a dandelion from a daisy, or are aged 9 or 90… Here you will be able to see what jobs you should be doing in the garden month by month, get ideas for spectacular seasonal planting schemes, read previews on new plants and products, find out where to buy them, and get up-to-date news of forthcoming events and places to visit. 

For those of you that have never dabbled in the "black art" of gardening you will first need to get some basic knowledge from a good gardening book. You will find some within this article as examples...


But first an introduction from Rosemary...

I have been gardening now for about thirty years, long enough for my husband to know that it`s wise to bury his head in a newspaper when the secateurs come out of retirement...  I don`t have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice but I also think the modern trends work well. Plants in my garden have to be resilient as they get moved around frequently, and my husband has been heard  to mutter  “I don`t remember that tree being there this morning..”

Hobbies have come and gone over the years but only gardening has endured, and now in retirement this column will add a new dimension to the hobby, and 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


Third edition  - July 2001.

This month in the separate Spotlight section I have looked in depth at greenhouses, summerhouses,  ponds  and  decking 

July -  and it is high summer, which brings so many rewards to the gardener, but can also be a busy time. Jobs abound. There are the hedges to trim and lawns to be cut once or twice weekly, vegetables to be kept weed-free, and the baskets and tubs to be watered daily. This is the gardening season in top gear, but don`t forget to take some time out for relaxing and visiting gardening events. 

Why not join the National Trust, visit some of their stately homes and gardens and see how the other half used to live. *Did you know that the National Trust rents lots of lovely houses out as holiday cottages, many of them in the centre of walled gardens, all great starting points for a UK holiday. Of course you could just stay put and revel in the peace and quiet of the garden. For details Tel: 0870 458 4411

*From the National Trust magazine "Complimentary Gardens Supplement 2001"


Jobs for the month - July


A busy month July, for banishing weeds, keeping your hungry plants fed, watered and dead-headed, and for gathering some early crops from the vegetable garden. Any house plants can stay outside for a few weeks for a breath of fresh air and a misting with tepid water...




Look for aphid damage, red spider mite, mealy bug and any other unwanted visitors, and spray immediately. Don`t forget to make provision for your houseplants if you are going away. There are several types of capillary matting in the garden centres that you can stand the plants on, or even soaked newspaper in a bucket.



Lift and dry off any tulip bulbs still in the borders or tubs, and you can order now for Autumn planting from your early bulb catalogues.




New lawns turfed or sown in the spring may now have a dose of weak weedkiller. Take great care with lawn spot weedkillers. I remember once my husband did the job for me and several days later our lawn was a mass of little brown circles. A grass weedkiller for patios had been used instead of a weedkiller for lawns....



Make sure that any plants in the greenhouse have adequate ventilation and are shaded from too much sun. Maintain humidity to avoid red spider mite by damping down with the hosepipe. Shade cucumbers from hot sun



Continue spraying rose hedges this month against black spot, mildew and aphids. You can still trim other types of hedge. There is a spray on the market that supposedly retards the growth of privet hedges. I haven`t tried it myself...



You will still need to watch out for nasty little bugs in fruit bushes and trees and eliminate them with an appropriate spray. This is a time of year to begin pruning and training some young fruit trees. You should consult a gardening book for this procedure



Flowers for cutting

As for the month of June, continue training sweet peas up their supports. Keep cutting flowers for the house and at the same time dead-head any faded blooms to encourage new flowers. Spray against aphids


Herbaceous plants

Feed plants fortnightly now. I use Miracle-Gro with the dispenser that attaches to the hose pipe so everything in the garden gets fed...and watch out for aphids on your plants. Keep the borders weed free and mulched


Ponds and water features

This is fish-spawning time so take care that your pond is not starved of oxygen. If you have tadpoles which by now have developed their legs, try to keep them apart from your fish, for they will eat them.  Provide a ramp for the tadpoles to leave the pond when the time comes. If you want to really help the tiny frogs then spray the flower beds or grass where they will be living with water for a few days if the weather is hot...



Our hedgehogs are back from their winter hibernation and doing a good job of eating insects. The Pipistrelle bats that fly around at dusk are busy as usual, and  young fledgling birds are running the gauntlet with my puppy, but I just put them gently in the safety of a bush and hope for the best.



Next month I will be looking at  lawnmowers, shredders and of course jobs for the month...



Some seasonal web sites of interest to gardeners:



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

Gardening 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.


And finally if you are visiting a National Trust garden or any other garden or event, do check that they are not closed due to Foot and Mouth disease. For general advice and up-to-date details of restrictions look up the website for the appropriate local authority who will have information about closures. Alternatively look at the following websites:   and  who will have Foot and Mouth up-dates. 


Have a look at previous editions of Gardener`s Diary



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