It’s now July and summer is in full swing! On sunny days there should be plenty of bees and butterflies taking advantage of the numerous plants that are in full-flower. Many wildlife organisations run bee counts or butterfly counts at this time of year so try and take part as it helps them to monitor the sustainability of insect populations.
In a typical English summer, we will have plenty of sunny spells interspersed with showers. This results in lush growth on cultivated plants but also encourages weed seeds to germinate and flourish. Keep on top of them by hoeing regularly, particularly on a hot afternoon, as they will quickly dry out and don’t stand a chance of re-establishing themselves.
Many hardy geraniums will have reached the end of their flowering period. Cut them back hard now to encourage new growth and you may be rewarded with a second flowering later in the summer. Many people are worried about pruning their shrubs as they are never sure when to do it. If you are unsure, then always prune straight after flowering.
Lawns will be growing well now and will need a weekly mow to continue looking good. It’s a good idea to allow some ‘weeds’ such as daisies and clover to grow amongst the grass as even if it is kept short they will flower and provide pollen to native bees.
Kitchen gardens and allotments will be full of produce now. It is soft fruit season and raspberries and strawberries need to be picked on a daily basis to encourage fruiting to continue. It’s often difficult to use everything that you harvest at this time of year so research preserving methods to avoid waste.
Penny is the owner of SimplyGro, an eco-friendly on-line garden store, and is passionate about GYO and wildlife friendly gardening. www.simplygro.co.uk