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ACG Year July 2022 : Pro Gallery
ACG Year July 2022 : Text

No mow May has merged into no mow June and July for us, in common with quite a few people. Luckily, our garden divides naturally into two parts, separated by a short steep slope, so now the lower part is left unmown until early August and the upper part can still be tended sometimes, though not as rigorously as it was until two years ago. A question: what to do where the edges of the new ‘wildflower meadow’ merge into flower or fruit and veg beds?  To avoid doing any more weeding of these beds than is absolutely necessary, this year we’re keeping a demarcation between the natural and cultivated areas by mowing a track round the edge, as well as a path (artistically curved) down the middle. A couple of years ago we sowed yellow rattle seeds into a small area of the grass to see what happened. This is supposed to parasitise the grass and weaken it so wildflowers can grow there instead. This year it seems to be working and it has also spread itself a bit to the larger unmown area. We haven’t got that great a variety of wildflowers there yet, but some pink scabious and pink clover have appeared among the more common white clover, daisies and buttercups.

Our asparagus bed is in its third summer and we were able to pick more this year but have to watch out for asparagus beetle, small brightly coloured insects whose larvae eat the leaves. We were unlucky to get them in the first year and they return each June it seems in spite of our clearing away everything in the autumn. They are easy to see and knock into a bucket of soapy water, but it’s time-consuming.  The joys of gardening! I may have to look for a biological control. 

Then there are the aphids to watch out for, in our garden often on blackcurrants, roses, Sambucus (purple leaved elder) and willow. The willow is in the form of a ‘living fence’ which we had great fun weaving to make a shady area for some seating. It is now about 8 feet high and thriving in spite of the growing points being prone to blackfly.

If you have a pond you might want to pull out blanket weed and duckweed. It was impossible to do this any earlier for ours because of all the tadpoles and baby newts that were living in it. We used a biological control, Viresco, to get rid of much of the blanket weed in April. This is a mixture of micro-organisms which absorb the nutrients the weed needs to grow, and the tadpoles weren’t affected by it.  You can use it right through the summer. Now I want to fish out more of the weed when all the tadpoles have ‘fledged’. Deposit the weed near the edge so any little creatures trapped in it can pop back into the water.

Apart from that, this month I will be pruning any shrubs that have recently flowered, and doing lots of deadheading, remembering not to cut off the dead flowers of those plants whose seeds I want to save later. I’ve had to devise a way of remembering which they are, so I bend a piece of old copper tape around the stems of the flowers I want to seed. This mainly applies to plants which seed themselves easily – foxgloves, poppies and aquilegias. I tend not to sow their seeds in trays but just to shake their seed heads over the areas where I want them to grow.

I will also be cutting back hard the cranesbill geraniums that have become straggly to encourage them to flower again later and finding some interesting small plants which I had forgotten about under them. I’ll be trying to remember to turn the contents of the compost heap over occasionally and throw a bucket of waste water from the kitchen onto it - frequently if we have a heat wave. I use seaweed feed for plants that are working hard, ie fruiting or flowering, and those that look a bit yellow or sad.

Last, but not least, I’ll try to remember to pause sometimes, listen to the birds singing and enjoy the view over the village to the hills.

Sue Justice

Things to do in July


Gardeners' World

ACG Year July 2022 : Text
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