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July is one of our warmest months and is a time for, hopefully, enjoying some leisure in the garden. However there are still some jobs to do as gardens always need some attention.   
If you haven’t already trimmed your clematis Montana, do it now before it gets into a real mess, and look out for clematis wilt. If you have this problem cut it down to ground level and it should come back again next year.  Cut back delphiniums and geraniums to encourage more flowers. Remove faded flowers from annuals and perennials.  The removal of faded blooms from flowering plants is carried out to improve the plant’s appearance and to prevent seed from setting.  Check for signs of pests and diseases, looking out especially for vine weevil which is a problem at this time of the year.  Spray roses for black spot and other diseases every fourteen days.   Give plants a liquid feed to encourage fresh growth.  Prune weigela and philadelphus and other shrubs that have finished flowering.  Take semi ripe cuttings of shrubs.   Do not cut back paeonies that have flowered, simply remove the dead flower heads.  Sow seed such as foxgloves, sweet Williams, Canterbury bells and forget-me-nots. Fill gaps with large argyranthemum, fuchsias or pelargoniums.
Protect new and established plants by mulching the soil between them with bark.  This will reduce annual weed growth and conserve soil moisture.  Always mulch over moist ground, never onto bone-dry soil, so be sure to water well first.
Harvest beetroot and other crops while they are still young and tender.  Seedlings of late spring sown winter cabbages, cauliflowers and Brussels sprouts should be ready for planting out.  Plant out leeks, sow further vegetable seeds.  Lift and dry off shallots.  Feed onions with liquid feed. Earth up celery.
Harvest early potatoes. Above all keep weeding!
Remove strawberry runners unless they are needed to produce new plants and cut down foliage when they have finished fruiting.  Replant strawberry beds that are more than three years old. Once the fruit from raspberry canes have been picked, cut off the old canes close to the ground to leave room for the new growths that will carry next year’s crop.  Cut back side shoots of gooseberries and currants by a third.  Prune blackcurrants by cutting out three or four older branches after fruiting.  Remove flower stems from rhubarb and mulch with manure or compost. Most soft fruit plants are bearing fruit now and will need attention after picking.  Apple and pear trees need summer pruning.  Prune to open up the trees and bushes to make spraying and picking easier and to let in light and air.
Give the lawn a quick acting feed, especially if it wasn’t done in the Spring. Mow it weekly or even twice a week to keep it looking nice and smart.
© Irene Allaway
Reproduced from the BASINGA, Parish Magazine of Old Basing and Lychpit, by kind permission of the Editor and Author, Irene Allaway.