At this time of year the garden should be looking at its best, with plenty of colour and interest. Warm sunny evenings allow plenty of time in which to enjoy the garden.
Although there are plenty of jobs to do this month, these can be undertaken at a more leisurely pace.
- Make sure birds have water in dry spells.
- Wisteria is best pruned twice a year to control its size and promote flowering. Summer prune by shortening long, whippy, current-season growth to five to six leaves or roughly the length of your forearm.
- Deadhead roses, peonies, pansies etc.
- To encourage more blooms on repeat-flowering roses, prune off faded heads regularly. With roses that flower only once, leave them unpruned if you want colourful rosehips later.
- Cut back early flowering herbaceous plants when they’ve finished flowering.
- Prune shrubs that flowered in early summer.
- Take half-ripe cuttings of shrubs such as cistus, lavatera, viburnum.
- Trim conifer hedges and take cuttings.
- Divide bearded irises.
- Disbud dahlias to get larger blooms.
- Clematis, especially those grown in containers or against sunny walls, need regular watering during summer to limit stress and help prevent powdery mildew infection.
- Keep new and young plants well watered during the summer, but use water wisely.
- With topiary plants of bay (Laurus nobilis) trimming will encourage dense growth and maintains shape. Use secateurs to shorten shoots.
- Watch out for pests and diseases.
- Feed and water all plants in containers regularly.
- Plant autumn-flowering bulbs such as Colchicum, Sternbergia and Nerine.
- Transplant seedlings of biennials sown earlier.
- Water vegetables regularly.
- Continue pinching out growing tips of runner beans when they reach the tops of their canes.
- Lift new potatoes, onions and garlic.
- Pick soft fruit, including blackberries, gooseberries and summer-fruiting raspberries as they ripen.
- Now is a good time to sow turnips, spring cabbage, fennel and autumn/winter salad crops.
- It is not too late to sow fast-growing catch crops such as oriental greens and salad onions, using empty space and providing an additional harvest.
- Lawns – raise cutting height of your mower as growth slows towards late summer, do this slowly as the month progresses.
- Keep greenhouses well ventilated, and damp down regularly.
- Last chance to fill any gaps in beds and borders with bedding.
- Watering while away – If you go away, reduce the chances of house plants drying out by grouping them together in a cool, shady area.
- Ponds – Continue clearing blanket weed and debris from ponds. Leave any material you remove at the side of the pond for a while to allow creatures to get back into the water.
- Top up ponds and water features if necessary. A fountain or waterfall will help aerate the water.
There are also some lovely gardens to visit at this time of year.
Abbey House Gardens, Malmesbury, Wiltshire
Batsford Arboretum, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire
Cranborne Manor, Wimborne, Dorset
Painswick Rococo Garden, Stroud, Gloucestershire