July in your garden
The temperatures this month will be very high so work in the garden should be done in either in the early morning and/or in the evening when the sun has gone off the plants. Attention should be paid to watering this month as many plants, especially those which have fleshy stems, will wilt quickly in the heat. Coastal areas may experience above average humidity this month.
In the last few years cases of scale insects and mealy bugs have soared during the high summer period, so if you have escaped these up to now, don’t relax but watch your plants vigilantly, especially Hibiscus, Verbenas, Pelargoniums, Osteospermums and in some cases Daturas or Brugmansias. Hidden away under the leaves in congested areas and with no air getting into the centre, the right environment is created for these pests. Botrytis also enjoys crowded humid areas. It does help to remove any old leaves and stems from within the plant. Some of the problems occur when others are tending your plants for you whilst you are away when they may be watered and fed only occasionally. If you added slow release fertiliser to your compost when you potted up your plants then you will not have to give instructions to feed. Like-wise, an addition of water retaining crystals in the basic mix will cover the days that the plant cannot be watered. Reduce watering to every few days before leaving, so that the plants get used to that regime.
In many gardens Plumbago has been in flower for some time now and the first crop of blue or white flowers will have turned into sticky seed capsules. This is the time to give the plant a summer hair cut which will allow fresh growth to appear with even more flowers. Along the roadsides as polygala hedges fade and have a summer rest, then Leucophyllum frutescens bursts into flower attracting all manner of pollinators. These are desert plants so they can survive our hot summer conditions, especially those in towns. In Arizona where they come from, high humidity causes them to burst into a blaze of pretty pink flower almost overnight. In gardens a spray from a hose will encourage them to flower.
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