“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.”
– Lewis Grizzard
July is the beginning of that wonderful period when we get to eat what we’ve sown and grown. It’s the month when the delivery of veg boxes can be suspended as we enjoy our home-grown crops of tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, strawberries and more.
Flower beds will be alive with colour this month and hopefully you will have included enough pollinators to enjoy the sight and sound of bees and other insects as they forage.
Much of the heavy gardening will have been done earlier in the year so now is the time to relax and enjoy the beautiful space that you have created.
Our top ten recommended tasks this month include:
- Dead-head bedding plants and roses to encourage further flowering and remove any fallen rose petals to prevent fungal disease forming.
- Baskets and containers can dry out quickly in warm, sunny conditions and may need watering twice a day. Feed regularly to promote flowering.
- Faded flower-spikes on lupins, campanula, delphinium, etc. can be cut down to just above a new shoot or leaf, apply liquid feed to each plant to encourage fresh growth.
- Keep onions well-watered so as not to affect the size of crop. Your onion hoe needs to be busy this month keeping down the weeds.
- Remove side shoots on cordon tomatoes and feed regularly with a high potash liquid tomato fertiliser
- Houseplants enjoy spending the summer outside so find a sheltered spot for them and give them some air
- Prune established plum and apricot trees
- Keep picking sweet peas for enjoying indoors and feed the plants every 12 days
- Prune shrubs that flowered in early summer
- Your garden birds will enjoy a dish of fresh water to both drink and bathe in and you’ll get the pleasure of watching them
Bee Kind to Bees
Bee numbers are at their highest during summer which puts pressure on their food supply. Although our gardens may be full of flowers and colour that doesn’t mean they are of the right type to produce nectar. Traveling long distances in search of food increases the risk of the bees becoming lost, uses up vital energy and can also be hazardous.
So, how can you help? Simply by ensuring that your garden includes at least some nectar producing plants. And this is in turn where we here at Suttons can help you. Visit our website and browse the Plants Attractive to Bees range.
Strawberry Fields Forever
Summer means strawberries and British strawberries are the best. And home-grown strawberries are even better! Depending on whereabouts in the country you live the peak for home-grown strawberries tends to be June/July. Easily grown in beds or pots, there’s room for at least a few strawberry plants in every garden. They will even be happy growing in a hanging basket.
Harvest your strawberries regularly to win the race against the ever-hungry slugs. Keeping the fruits out of the fridge will help their flavour to develop but they will need eating within a couple of days. That shouldn’t prove difficult.
Strawberries retain water so don’t wash them until just before you are ready to feast. And don’t hull them until after you’ve washed them. Nobody loves a soggy strawberry!
Strawberries combine beautifully with rhubarb, especially when baked together beneath a crumble. Custard Creams come tops in many a “favourite biscuit” survey but how about Strawberry Creams? Simply puree your strawberries with a little sugar and a dash of orange juice and then sandwich this between two thin layers of home-made shortbread. Yum!
Of course, strawberries can also be made into ice-cream, added to Pavlova, mashed into Eton Mess, plopped into Pimms or simply topped with cream. And then there’s strawberry gin. 😊
“Let’s have summer first!”, I hear you cry. Absolutely, we need to enjoy all that the sunshine brings but gardening is all about planning ahead and our new vibrant spring bulbs range is ready for your selection. Order your spring bulbs now and we will deliver at the right time for planting. Click here to view the range.
Grow Your Own Saffron
While we may be enjoying some fantastic weather in our stunning summer gardens, let’s start to look ahead to the autumn and some fantastic autumn flowering bulbs. In particular, the amazing Saffron Crocus!
The beautiful autumn-blooming Saffron Crocus sativus is, as its name suggests, the flower from which we gather saffron. Renowned for being the most expensive spice in the world, Saffron provides the quintessential seasoning for paella as well as other Mediterranean dishes and is a staple for creating the perfect yellow rice to accompany your favourite curry. Not only can the stigmas be used for flavouring and colouring dishes, the vibrant lilac-purple blooms will also bring a dash of colour to your autumn garden. Truly a win win.
The Saffron Crocus will thrive in a well drained border and can be grown in containers on your patio. They are also super hardy and multiply rapidly to give stunning blooms and a steady supply of Saffron year after year.
Available to order now for August despatch. Buy 60 bulbs for £14.99 and save £4.99
Plant of the Month
If you’re looking to add a tropical vibe to your outside space, look no further than these cannas. With bold leaves that add texture and showy flowers in shades of red, yellow, orange and pink they are sure to wow in your containers and borders.
Supplied in 2 litre pots and ready to despatch now, they are ready to put on a stunning display this summer. The best part is that you can get 3 for only £15!