Green Tips – garden tasks for July

There’s much to dead-head in July, to encourage repeat-flowering throughout the summer.

People often believe roses just look after themselves, but this is a myth. We need to lavish love and attention on these special flowers and I like, on occasion, to take a leaf out of the Prince of Wales’ book and have a chat with my roses. As I deadhead their spent blooms, I utter a few words of encouragement, and I have also been known to whisper to them as I water.

Make sure you deadhead your roses when the blooms are spent and the petals have crisped up. Take your clean secateurs and cut below the bud and just above a new leaf: you’ll be rewarded with bloom upon bloom as the season progresses.

Some gardeners believe that rose bushes are bombproof, but actually they really do need water in order to produce throughout the summer.

Neil Miller and roses

(Neil Miller deadheading Iceberg roses)

Green and black

When it comes to greenfly and blackfly, we leave them at Hever – we don’t treat. We maybe run our thumb and forefinger across the leaves, but more often than not we let nature work its magic: we find that birds and insects clear the greenfly in days for us.  

Black spot is a different matter – it’s a fungal problem and one that needs treatment in the form of chemicals from your local garden centre. Prevention, though, is better, so make sure you remove any leaves with black spot and don’t let them fall or collect around the base of your plants. Once removed, burn the leaves: definitely don’t put them in your compost bin!

Make sure there’s good air circulation around the plant so they can breathe. Bad circulation promotes fungal infection.

Everything is growing

It’s a great growing time for everything you’ve planted this month but it’s also a great growing time for the ones you haven’t. Keep your hoe to hand, so you can regularly weed your borders.

In order to get a second flush from the delphiniums in the Long Border we cut them back and also have a good check for snails, aphids, vine weevils and beetles, to ensure good plant health.

Find Neil in the famous gardens at Hever Castle: open seven days a week in the summer. Find more gardening advice here.

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