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Oak Leaf Gardening Monthly Cuttings
Newsletter 2 - July 2011
What to do now

Ornamental plants

  • Continue to deadhead religiously!
  • Cut back the flowered stems from delphiniums, verbascums and lupins - you might get a second, albeit shorter, display later on.
  • Pinch out the tips of chrysanthemums.
  • Prune shrubs which flowered in early summer (eg lilacs, philadelphus, weigela, deutzia, kerria, spiraea and broom).
  • Trim back yew, privet and lonicera hedges.
  • Trim off the spent flowers of any free-seeding plants, such as Alchemilla mollis (lady’s mantle), unless you want them to set seed and appear all around your garden!
  • Meadows can be mown towards the end of this month, once the seedheads have ripened and the seeds have fallen.
  • Take cuttings from bedding plants such as marguerites, verbena, pelargoniums, lantana, osteospermums, abutilons, penstemons, argyranthemums, fuchsias, pinks and carnations.
  • Divide any clumps of flag or bearded iris which have become congested.
  • Spray roses with fungicide to control black spot and rust.
  • Collect and sow seeds from biennials such as sweet William, foxgloves, Canterbury bells, wallflowers and forget-me-nots.
  • Sow autumn and spring bedding such as cyclamen, colchicum, crocuses, nerines, pansies and primulas.
Fruit and veg
  • Make sure your veg plot is well watered throughout the summer, otherwise your crop will be greatly reduced.
  • Support and (unless you have bush varieties) pinch out the side shoots on your tomatoes regularly. Increase the frequency of feeding them (with a high potash feed) as the plants develop.
  • Peg down strawberry runners (on the soil surface or onto compost in a pot) to get new plants for next year.
  • Thin out apples, grapes and plums so your crop has enough room to grow.
  • Net brassica crops to keep cabbage white butterflies off them.
  • Pinch out the tops of your climbing beans when they are as high as their supports.
  • Clip bay to shorten the sideshoots and keep the growth compact.
  • At the end of this month, prune long stems growing from apple trees back to five leaves; this will encourage more flowering and, therefore, fruiting next year.
  • Sow beetroot, chicory, Chinese cabbages, endives, lettuces, pak choi, radicchio, radishes, salad leaves, spring cabbages, kohl rabi, French beans, peas, rocket, swedes, Swiss chard, winter spinach, turnips, parsley, basil, coriander and spring onions.
  • Harvest mangetouts, sugarsnap peas, courgettes, rhubarb, okra, early onions, beans, strawberries, gooseberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, peas, spinach, raspberries, cherries, broad beans, cabbages, carrots, cauliflowers and calabrese.
General tasks
  • Mow lawns regularly; cut them a bit higher than normal in periods of low rainfall.
  • Keep on weeding so your plants have less competition for water and food.
  • Watch out for pests and diseases.
  • Keep your greenhouse well ventilated to prevent overheating and to keep the air moving.
  • Feed plants every week, particularly those growing in containers and grow bags.
  • Apply a residual weedkiller to paths and drives.
  • Set aside some time to sit back with a cold drink and enjoy the fruits of all your hard work!
Osteospermum 'Whirlygig'Plant of the month

Penstemon ‘Alice Hindley’ is just one of the wide variety of penstemons bursting into colour in July. 'Alice Hindley' is an elegant choice with violet/blue, bell shaped flowers with pretty white 'throats'. It reaches up to 1m high and should continue to bloom until early autumn.

Deadhead regularly to prolong flowering. It has been given the 'Award of Garden Merit' by the RHS. Find out more...

Problem of the monthPowdery mildew

Powdery mildew can be found on a wide variety of plants over the summer. Identify it by a white, powdery coating on leaves, usually on the upper surfaces. Fungicides are effective against it, and affected parts can be carefully removed. Prevent an infection by keeping plants well watered in dry periods and ensuring good air flow between plants. Find out more...

In the news

Thompson and Morgan seeds suspected in e-coli outbreak

Thompson and Morgan, the popular UK seed and plant provider, has withdrawn the following seeds from sale, and recommends that, if you already own these seeds, you do not grow or consume them:

  • Sprouting Seeds Rocket
  • Sprouting Seeds White Mustard
  • Sprouting Seeds Fenugreek
  • Sprouting Seeds Sandwich Mix
  • Sprouting Seeds Salad Sprouts Mix

In light of this latest outbreak, we decided to find out a bit more about e-coli bacteria, how seeds and crops can become contaminated by it and what the real risks are to consumers. Read more in our blog...

BBC and ITV gardening shows go head to head

The new ITV gardening show 'Love Your Garden', with its host Alan Titchmarsh, pipped BBC's Gardener's World to the post with a whopping 3.4 million viewers in its first week, compared to the BBC's 2.2 million. Whether this trend will continue remains to be seen - Gardener's World is currently off air for the Wimbledon fortnight.

Boris Johnson promises 20,000 new trees

The Mayor of London, in conjunction with The Woodland Trust, has offered 100 free 'tree packs' to London communities who want to reclaim local spaces and create a greener capital.

Hunt for BBC young gardener of the year

The BBC are on the hunt for talented young gardeners, aged 16 to 25, to compete in their show 'Young Talent of the Year'. They're searching for young people who are "a true ambassador for their trade". How to apply...

Forestry Commission launch tree disease strategy

The Forestry Commission has launched a strategy for dealing with pests and diseases threatening British trees, woods and forests. Targeted problems include acute oak disease, phytophthora and pine-tree lappet moths. The strategy will focus on stopping pests entering Britain, containing outbreaks and improving forestry management to reduce the threat.


I do like to be beside the seaside!Red valerian and fishing boats

Holidaying at the British coast this year? As well as the ice cream, kiss me quick hats and changeable weather, you'll fine a wealth of plant life growing by the shore.

Whether you like the vibrant pinks of red valerian, the subtle violets of common mallow, the pretty whites of sea campion or the huge foliage of sea kale, the shoreline holds a feast of tough yet attractive plants. Just make sure you don't put your beach towel down on some prickly sea holly - ouch!

Why not take a look at our blog to find out about our recent trip to the Suffolk coastline and the horticultural gems we found there?

Read more about our finds in Suffolk...


What's on this month

Just a few of the many gardening events happening this July:

  • 5th July - Grow your own salad in a window box, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
  • 5th to 10th July - RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.
  • 9th to 10th July - Lakeland Rose, Garden and Craft Show, Cumbria.
  • 12th July - HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visit The Eden Project to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
  • 17th July - Digging Up The Past, Wallington, Northumberland.
  • 20th to 24th July - RHS Flower Show Tatton Park.
  • 23rd July - Garden Supper at Sissinghurst Castle, Kent.
  • 23rd to 24th July - Summer Plant and Garden Fair, Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire.

In addition, hundreds of private gardens across the UK are open for the National Garden Scheme and other charities this month.