It’s suddenly the season of sweet peas, strawberries and summer sowing.
This is a wonderful time in the garden, when flowers are starting to appear in abundance and there’s plenty to harvest in the vegetable patch.
Solitary bees are efficient pollinators more so than honeybees and bumblebees and as they don’t live in colonies or make honey they are non-aggressive. This Dewdrop Bee & Bug biome provides nesting tubes for solitary bees & shelter for other beneficial insects in your garden. The centre contains bamboo nesting tubes and a drilled log ideal for solitary bee nesting. The unusual dewdrop shape of this habitat makes an attractive feature in your garden. It costs £17.99 from shopping.rspb.org.uk.
More broad beans?
It is possible to get a second crop of broad beans, especially if the summer is good. In July and August, when the broad bean plant
has finished, cut down the stem close to the ground about 15cm near a growing point and give it a feed. On a good year it will re-grow and produce a second, smaller crop.
Dry Out Onions
If there’s a decent spell of dry weather onions and shallots can be left on the ground to dry out. It is important that before you put onions into storage they are completely dry. If they even very slightly damp they will start to rot very quickly. The greenhouse is the ideal place for the job. Onions and garlic will store for a year in the right environment, so it is important to get them really dry before storage.
Turn on the Sunshine!
No other plant sums up high summer and colour in the border than the versatile and spectacular rudbekia. Right on cue for the high summer days of July and August, rudbeckia lights up gardens and borders everywhere like bright rays of sunshine. They also attract a continuous procession of pollinators, bringing even more colour to the summer garden. Because it is late into flower it sometimes gets tucked at the back of the border, but it deserves a front seat where its beautiful blue-grey foliage can be appreciated.
You can buy edible flowers from specialist suppliers, but why not grow your own?
Nasturtium: Super easy to grow by seed and make a beautiful garnish. Just keep in mind they have a spicy flavour.
Lavender: Add it to sugar for a bit of a floral flavour, mix into summer lemonades, or use it to decorate pretty cakes.
Pansies: These pretty flowers look adorable on top of cookies, or when sugared and used to decorate a cake. You could even detach the
petals and sprinkle onto summer salads.
Calendula: An easy annual to grow by seed. They’re best enjoyed with the petals removed and sprinkled on top of greens or a hearty couscous.
Seasonal Gardening Tips
- Sow biennials such as foxgloves, sweet william, wallflowers and forget-me-nots, to plant in autumn for a beautiful display next spring.
- Water plants regularly – daily for containers and a thorough soaking once or twice a week for the rest of the garden.
- Take cuttings from tender plants, herbaceous perennials and shrubs.
- Deadhead flowers to prevent the plant from setting seed.
- Sow late summer and winter crops such as cabbages, carrots, cauliflower and lettuces.
- Refresh bird baths and feeders, top up ponds.
Give lavender plants a light trim all over as soon as the flowers are past. Like all silver leaved Mediterranean shrubs they dislike being pruned back into dead wood, so you need to keep them trim and neat with an annual going over. Use shears and take off just and inch or so to stimulate new growth.