Gardening jobs in July: what to plant and tidy in your garden this month

·5 min read
gardening jobs july uk garden what to plant grow harvest sow tidy this month top tips 2022 summer
gardening jobs july uk garden what to plant grow harvest sow tidy this month top tips 2022 summer

The garden is looking full and lush now, with leaves as deep green as they will ever be and many of the more luxuriant flowers now blooming: lilies, day lilies, agapanthus and Oriental poppies among them. This is a bountiful and enjoyable time in the garden, with plenty of cut flowers available to fill jars and bunch up for friends.

Vegetable and fruit gardens are finally producing good harvests of berries and fresh, young vegetables: the first gluts of the year are here and you would do well to dig out your courgette recipes. There is warmth in the air too, though we can and often do have extremes of weather this month, from drought to great thunderous storms and even hail.

But it is another month in which sitting back and enjoying the garden that you have created should be one of your main tasks.

Gardening jobs to do in July

Topiary

This is a good moment to shape and clip topiary. A small pair of shears is ideal, and sharpen them before you start if possible. You could also lay a tarpaulin around the topiary to collect the clippings. If your plants are still growing into the shape you want then you will need to take your time over this, visualising the shapes you want and carving them out. If you are just sharpening up a preexisting shape it should be easier. But either way, step back often and assess your work, and ruffle the surface of the topiary several times before you finish to flush out any sprigs that may be tucked under and will later pop out to spoil your lines. Trim again in September if you want really sharp lines for winter.

gardening jobs july uk garden what to plant grow harvest sow tidy this month top tips 2022 summer
gardening jobs july uk garden what to plant grow harvest sow tidy this month top tips 2022 summer

The fruit garden

Top fruit such as apples and pears routinely produce more fruit than the tree can bring to full ripeness. They naturally shed lots of these immature fruits during June in what is known as the ‘June drop’, but this is rarely enough, so it is a good idea to come along afterwards to finish the job, not least because this prevents trees from overdoing it one year, and needing to take a year off the next. Thin out fruits that are clumped closely together so that just one or two is left at each point, and picture the ideal size of the final fruit. The idea is to ensure that each remaining fruit has enough space to achieve it.

Flowers

The challenge through July is to keep flowering going for as long as possible, especially in repeat-flowering perennials and roses and in bedding plants and annuals. To this end it is a good idea to spend a little time each week going around and nipping off spent flowers. Once flowers are over, the plant receives the signal that all pollinating has been done, and it is time to move on to the next phase – setting seed – and they lose all drive to keep flowering. By continually thwarting their seed setting mechanism we keep them in flower. Regular doses of liquid fertiliser will also help to keep plants blooming all through summer.

Lawns

You can keep mowing all through this month, but it is a good idea to stop during drought, should one hit. Lawns can start to look a bit tired in July so if you have the option, set your mower blades a little higher than you did in early summer, which will help the grass to put up with the ravages of summer. In dry, hot weather the grass may start to develop brown patches but do not panic. There is no need to get the sprinkler out as it will green up as soon as rains reappear, and they’re never too far away.

Greenhouse

The greenhouse can become overheated on hot days which can lead to plant stress, wilting and leaf burn, and will increase the need for watering. It is sensible to have some shade netting in place now or if not then to paint the glass on the outside with shade paint, which will deflect some of the rays. You can leave the doors and any windows open day and night now, and during hot spells you should ‘damp down’ inside – water the floor to cool the temperature – each morning and again in the afternoon.

gardening jobs july uk garden what to plant grow harvest sow tidy this month top tips 2022 summer
gardening jobs july uk garden what to plant grow harvest sow tidy this month top tips 2022 summer

Bulbs

This is the moment to plant autumn flowering bulbs such as autumn crocuses. Choose Crocus speciosus cultivars and plant them in well-drained grass in plenty of sun. Scatter the bulbs first and then plant them where they fall to mimic their natural spread. Colchicum autumnale, known as ‘naked ladies’ as the flowers emerge before the leaves, are similar but larger flowered and can also be naturalised in turf.

The vegetable garden

Happily, harvesting is now the main job in the vegetable garden, but it is oddly easy to overlook it, or at least to not give it the time it needs to get the best out of your mature produce. A great many vegetables – French and runner beans, new potatoes, peas, mange tout, carrots, courgettes and more – are at their best when picked young, small and sweet. Get into the habit of putting time aside daily and picking crops little and often, just enough for a meal or a daily salad. It will prolong the harvest and make all of your efforts really worthwhile.

gardening jobs july uk garden what to plant grow harvest sow tidy this month top tips 2022 summer
gardening jobs july uk garden what to plant grow harvest sow tidy this month top tips 2022 summer

The pond

Duck weed and algae can swamp ponds at this time of year, growing at a huge rate in the warm weather. Skim pond weed off the surface using a rake or pond dipping net. Dip a rake into the depths and wind it around on itself to whisk up strands of algae. Put everything that you have raked or skimmed out onto the side of the pond and leave it there for a few days to allow any creatures you have inadvertently scooped up to crawl out and return to the pond, then add it to the compost heap. You will need to do this regularly throughout the summer.

This article is kept updated with the latest information.