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Georgie Steward’s July Gardening Club

These dog days of summer are quite challenging – it hasn’t quite been the heatwave we were all hoping for – yet! – so things aren’t looking as frazzled as usual – but the rain has come down, flattening a lot of plants, so, in my garden, it is all beginning to look a bit of mess out there! It’s definitely time for a bit of preening.

Midsummer garden grooming helps in so many ways. It’s good for the garden and great for the plants. Cutting back early flowering perennials, such as Nepeta, Alchemilla mollis, astrantia,  hardy geraniums, delphiniums and salvia now clears away browning foliage and flowers, allowing air and light to filter in, reducing the risk of disease and will encourage a fresh mound of foliage to grow up as well as a second flush of flowers before too long.

There are also early flowering annuals and biennials that will be long over, things like foxgloves, poppies and forget-me-nots and removing the spikes (leaving a few to run to seed) will tidy up your borders – and also create space to house your (my!) plant growing obsession! So when you return from holiday (here’s hoping!), your garden will be fresh and zingy as opposed to be dry and arid!

Deadheading is also key at this time of the summer – roses need to be continually deadheaded to keep the buds forming and cosmos, dahlias and pelargoniums need the same treatment. Liveheading should also be done with sweet peas, where picking promotes more flowers and means you can fill the house with their gorgeous scent.

If anything has toppled over now is the time to try and tease them back upright so they look as though nothing has been done at all (!) – stake discreetly with hazel rods/canes.

Once you have done any cutting back or deadheading it’s a good idea to give your plants a good drink and feed to help them get over the shock (!) and to give them that extra boost. Feed at the base and also on the leaves by swooshing a watering can of diluted liquid seaweed over the whole plant.

Be brave! Your garden may look like a bit depleted for a week or two but come August everything will be bursting into life again!

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