Gardening tips

In the flower garden…

• Cut back faded perennial plants to keep borders tidy.
• As your Penstemon flowers fade, cut them back to just above a bud to encourage more flowers.
• Cutting back growth in hanging baskets can encourage new flowers and foliage.
• Cut back hardy Geraniums and Delphiniums after the first flush of flowers to encourage new growth and further blooms.
• Continue to tie in and train new growth in climbing plants.
• Prune Wisteria now. Just remove the whippy side-shoots from the main branch framework to about 20cm from their base.
• Prune back Lupins to encourage further flowers.
• If you need to prune your deciduous Magnolia, now is the time to do it.
• Dead-head bedding plants and perennials to stop them self-seeding and to encourage further flowering.
• Dead-head your Roses to keep them looking tidy. leave the flowers in place if your rose produces attractive hips.
• Dead-head sweet peas regularly to keep them blooming. Water them daily in dry weather.
• Keep an eye out for pests on plants, early treatment is best.
• Look out for Clematis wilt. Symptoms include wilting leaves and black discolouration on the leaves and stems. Cut out all affected material and dispose of it.
• Now is a good time to spay ground elder, bindweed and other persistent weeds with a systemic weedkiller as the plants now have lots of leaf surface area with which to absorb it.

In the fruit garden…

• Thin out the fruits on your fruit trees to produce good sized crops.
• Thin out fruits on your fruit trees to produce good sized crops.
• Give any container grown fruit a high potash liquid feed to keep plants healthy and productive.
• Feed lemons and other citrus fruit trees throughout summer with a special citrus fertiliser.
• Peg down runners on your strawberries to create more plants for next year. If you don’t need more plants simply remove the strawberry runners completely.
• Prune your plum, apricot, peach and cherry trees now. Pruning these species in the summer reduces the risk of these tees getting silver leaf disease.
• If you’ve trained your apples and pears as cordons, fans or espaliers give them a summer prune now to maintain a good shape.
• Prune the fruited stems of your blackcurrant bushes after harvesting.
• Raspberries are shallow rooted so they will appreciate being watered generously in hot, dry weather.

In the vegetable garden…

• Plant second cropping potatoes now to give you new potatoes for Christmas. Plant your Christmas potatoes in pots or bags which can be bought under cover before the first frosts.
• Pepper plants will benefit from being potted on into progressively larger pots.
• Train cucumber stems upwards instead of trailing over the ground,to make the most of the space available. Simply tie in their long stems to vertical wires or a wigwam of poles.
• If you’re growing aubergines pinch out the growing tip once they have 5 or 6 fruits. Pick fruits while they are young. You can expect to start harvesting in mid – late summer.
• Nip off the growing tips of squash and courgettes to encourage branching.
• Pinch out tomato side-shoots each week. Cut off any leaves growing below the lowest ripening fruit trusses to improve air circulation and prevent diseases.
• Boost your tomato crop by regularly feeding them with dilute tomato fertiliser once a week. If leaves look pale and yellow, feed more regularly.
• Feed crops with a general purpose fertiliser.
• Apply a high-potash fertiliser once fruits start to form on peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes.
• Harvest garlic when the tops start to bend over and yellow.
• Pick courgettes while they are young. Regular picking encourages more fruit.
• Encourage more marrows by harvesting regularly. Marrows that form in July/August should reach a good size by autumn. Let their skins harden in the sun before cutting them later in September or October. They can be stored into winter.
• Pick, dry and freeze herbs for using later in the year.
• Pick runner beans regularly to prevent them becoming stringy and to make room for developing pods.
• Harvest beetroot,peas, carrots, chard, potatoes, salad leaves, lettuce and tomatoes this month.
• Clear weeds regularly, as they compete with your crops for nutrients and moisture.

Looking after your lawn…

• This is your last chance to feed your lawn with a special lawn fertiliser to encourage healthy green growth.
• Water your lawn during hot weather, particularly newly seeded or turfed lawns. Do not allow new lawns to dry out.
• If you are experiencing prolonged dry weather, set your mower blades higher to reduce stress on the grass.
• Warm weather encourages rapid weed growth – apply a specific lawn weedkiller to tackle this problem.
• Re-cut any lawn edges if needed.