July In Your Garden

After a chilly Canada Day camping, and an even colder and wetter next few days spent in fleece pants and raingear…in Kamloops, I have decided against putting away the winter clothes but rather to stack the rubbermaids artistically in my room for easy access.

Yes, we have had a couple of excellently warm days upon our return, but I remain suspicious and the winter clothes will stay upstairs. One word of advice…there are only so many games of Sequence you can crush your opponent (hubby) before they go out of the camper to sulk, and no, I did not believe that bit about the rain tarps needing adjustment.

Here’s the list:

  • Mulch your garden beds. This will help to slow down the weeds and hold in the moisture for when it actually gets dry.
  • Check water regulations. Lawns need minimal water. My neighbour places a tuna can near the sprinkler and turns it off when the can has filled up to 1 inch. It’s a pretty handy gauge actually, and one inch is all the lawn really needs per week. If you are not allowed to water the lawn don’t despair, your lawn will go dormant (actually a lovely taupe colour) and return with vigour in the fall.
  • Most municipalities will allow you to hand water trees, shrubs and perennial and annual beds as needed. Don’t forget to water your street trees. They need water too! Have a look at DRAMM watering products. They're pretty cool and colourful!
  • Deadhead roses, clip back spent flower stalks of Peonies, Valerian, Campanula’s and other flowering perennials. Trim back Nepeta and Delphiniums once the blooms are done to encourage a second flush. Don’t forget to bring in some bouquets. Hosta leaves look great in the arrangements if you have them.
  • Keep an eye out for powdery mildew on Phlox. Cut and remove badly affected stalks.
  • Fertilize pots and baskets with liquid fertilizer. As well, fertilize perennials and Dahlias as needed.
  • You can trim hedges as long as you don’t choose an incredibly hot day.
  • Thin perennial beds as necessary.
  • Keep an eye out for aphids and hose off as needed or use the soap spray recipe in last months to-do list.
  • You can try your hand at propagating Rhododendrons and other plants by surface layering. The easiest way is to use a rock to hold down a low branch and add a little soil around where the branch touches the ground. You don’t need to cover the whole branch, just the part that is touching the ground. Usually by October you will have roots, if you want to ensure better rooting before moving your new little plant you can wait until late winter/early spring.
  • There are also a lot of plants you can propagate by cuttings at this time. My best advice is to grab a book on propagation from your local library (one with good pictures) and have a go with making some baby plants! If you’re going to use recycled pots, rinse them out and run them through the dishwasher then you can follow the types of cuttings instructions. You usually need a clean potting mix combined with a sand mixture. We still have the plastic seed starting trays with dome lids to retain moisture if you want to be really strict about the moisture content. The rooting powder or gel is a really good purchase and will last a nice long while if stored in a cool dark place.
  • Time to pick your raspberries, blueberries, currants and tayberries to name a few. Freeze them on wax paper lined cookie sheets so you don’t end up with a solid lump of raspberries you need to chip away at with an ice pick in order to make a smoothie.
  • Trim back spent raspberry canes to the ground
  • Mist house plants. Fertilize and dust leaves as needed. You can treat some types to a cool misty shower.
  • Lift and store spring flowering bulbs if you want to change their positions for next year, otherwise you can leave them where they are.
  • Ponds. Thin floaters as necessary and trim and remove damaged leaves. Watch for evaporation and add water as necessary.
  • Towards the end of the month as your fruit trees slow their growth, you may do some summer pruning if your trees have reached the size you would like them to be and you wish to slow their growth. Remember summer pruning slows the growth and winter pruning invigorates growth.
  • Clip annual alyssum after it has finished its first big flush of growth to encourage more blooms. Clip back or pinch back petunias, and other annuals if their growth becomes too leggy.
  • Clip and dry lavender and other herbs as they become ready to use in cooking and other Martha Stewart-esque activities.
  • If you’ve had some losses in the flower pot arena, there are some great specials on filler annuals. It's a great time for a second round of colour as most growers have extras and they tend to be big and beautiful with the heat.
  • Make a water pot for your patio. We’ve got some great water pots, you can add a couple of floating plants, an upright grassy looking sedge and voila, instant water garden!
  • The sun is out now, and I have a wealth of mint leaves thanks to all that rain. It’s Mojito time!!

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