Contributing gardening editor Marianne Alexander highlights the most essential chores to do in the garden during July

gheabc201471011215 - gardening to do list

Gardening to do list: For the plant enthusiast

  • Add colour with snapdragons, Bellis perennis, violas and pansies and calendulas.
  • Keep picking and deadheading annuals to encourage them to produce more flowers.
  • Feed annuals, spring bulbs and clivias regularly with high-potash foliar fertilisers (2:3:4 and 3:1:5 are good) or weak liquid manure or apply slow-release organic feeds like Talborne’s 2:3:4 and 3:1:5.
  • Water cool season, seed lawns (like Shade Over and All Seasons Evergreen) well. A light sprinkle of 3:1:5 fertiliser will give them a boost.
  • Roses in subtropical gardens can be encouraged to become dormant by watering them less often.
  • Water Mediterranean plants like lavender, rosemary and santolina from the winter rainfall areas if you live in a summer rainfall area.
  • Take hardwood cuttings of hydrangeas, hibiscus, Solanum rantonnetii, buddleia, Chinese lanterns and indigenous shrubs like Ruttya ovata, Ruspolia spp., Mackaya bella, Duvernoia aconitifolia and D. adhatodoides and Tetradenia riparia, the ginger bush. Trim the base of each cutting straight just below a node, and snip the top at an angle above a node to remind you which end is which.

Gardening to do list: For the kitchen gardener

  • Prune deciduous fruit trees like peaches and nectarines and snip off the long, scraggly side branches of granadillas. Apricots, plums, apples and pears need little winter pruning.
  • Spray deciduous fruit trees on a windless day with a mixture of lime sulphur and water, at a rate of 1:10. Repeat a fortnight later.
  • Check citrus trees for scale. Add a layer of mulch, but don’t let it touch their trunks.
  • Grow cabbages in garden beds or pots; their form, colour and shape will add interest to the winter garden. Three types to try are: Savoy cabbage, Cape Spitz cabbage and Red cabbage.
  • Feed citrus trees after harvesting with 5:1:5 and a good sprinkle of Epsom salts. Spray deficient leaves with trace elements.
  • After camellias have flowered, water in a light application of an organic, high-nitrogen fertiliser to promote new growth.

For the time-pressed gardener

  • Effortlessly add colour to your patio by dropping colour pots of mature bedding plants and flowering bulbs, sold in individual containers, into a single large container. Make up your own colour combinations or try white freesias with pansies and Bellis perennis.