Temperatures during July were steady – pleasant, mostly sunny with no excessively hot days.
However rainfall was in very short supply, even though it was regularly forecast. Looking to August – temperatures can vary from 22-23C and by the end of the month reach 28-29 C.
Sunset will then begin to get noticeably earlier – but there remain plenty of daylight hours to enjoy the garden, and routine tasks consist of watering very regularly, weeding and deadheading.
For many gardeners and non-gardeners roses are the backdrop to the summer flowering displays. To keep them looking good they need continuous deadheading, unless they are the type that have the decorative hips in autumn – these varieties include Rosa rugosa, Rosa multiflora and Rosa canina.
Pruning can be carried out on hybrid tea roses – remove new growth from beneath the main flowering stem; this ensures energy is not diverted which would reduce overall flowering.
To grow roses successfully a programme of regular feeding, pruning and training is needed throughout the year.
Two gorgeous hybrid tea roses worth growing are ‘Blue Moon’ which produces silvery lilac flowers with a sweet perfume and ‘Chrysler Imperial’ which has luscious dark red flowers giving an intoxicating aroma.
The planting season for roses starts in October and runs through to March. David Austin Roses is the place to go for information about different types of roses – they also have a huge choice available (depending on the time of year). visit www.davidaustinroses.co.uk
Deadhead Geraniums (annual types) Fuchsias and Petunias (including window box plants) to encourage continued flowering.
To increase plant stocks for next year, cuttings can be taken – use the soft summer growth from Fuchsias, Geraniums and herbs like Lavender, Rosemary and Sage.
Put 4-6 inch cuttings (removing lower leaves) into small pots of sandy soil or multi-purpose compost.
Alternatively, tuck the cuttings into the edge of a border or flower bed and water regularly in dry spells to ensure they do not dry out.
One of my favourite plants is the scented leaf geranium (Pelargoniums) they make wonderful houseplants – but can also be grown outside in containers on the patio or balcony – and can be the backdrop of a summer window box display.
These Pelargoniums are tender and must come inside by November. There are many different ones to choose – Geranium ‘Attar of Roses’ has sweetly perfumed leaves and produces little mauve-pink flowers.
Another P. ‘Apple Betty’ has dainty white flowers – and as the name suggests – the leaves are apple scented. And a favourite P. ‘Chocolate Peppermint’ – has beautiful foliage with a deep chocolate aroma.
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