In July the perennial borders are usually at their most colourful whereas the alpine borders are usually best between April and June. Some years such as this however due to lots of rain and below average sunshine the borders are very lush and green but not as colourful as normal. This will soon change though if we get a week or so of good sunny days.

The wooden cold frame is nearly empty now so I use the summer months to catch up with painting and preserving the wood ( I add a coat of preservative once a year to stop the wood rotting in the winter months). I do not take many cuttings in July as if it gets too hot they can wilt easilly. I have however taken a few of some sun loving plants (perennial walflower (erysimum) and some ornimental salvias) which need a little more heat to root.

Although plants are available all year round in garden centres I do not like planting in summer as it is a lot of effort to keep them watered if we get a dry spell. I think that the best time to plant is early spring when the ground is wet and the plants can make good root systems before the summer months and the make good size plants by winter. Autumn planting is also quite good for some hardy plants but they do then have to survive the winter months as quite small specimens and this can sometimes lead to losses.

Even in dry spells I do not water the garden unless individual plants are showing signs of distress when they get a full watering can at the base of the plant. I never use a sprinkler on the lawns as even if they go a bit brown they soon recover when it rains again. It is of course important to keep baskets and tubs watered even if it rains. The rain usually washes off the plant leaves if the container is full and very little gets to the soil below. The best way to water a container is to leave the rose off the watering can and to water under the leaves directly onto the soil.

Eccremocarpus scaber (Chilean glory flower) are very easy to grow from seed. They are meant to be half hardy but these have survived a winter and have now scrambled all over this trellace. They are very good in July but will flower for nearly all summer and into autumn.

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