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Some July Gardening Advice from Ollie

July is a great month to sit out in your garden and enjoy it. There are a few jobs that will keep it looking at its best and won’t take a lot of time. Dead head roses as they go past their best.  Use secateurs to cut just below each flower and use the opportunity to remove the odd misplaced stem or tie in branches when you see them. You can cut back Geraniums (Not Pelargoniums) after they have finished flowering to encourage a second flush of flowers. Cut back all spent flowers and foliage and give them a feed to help them regrow and flower quickly. Mid-summer is a good time to start propagating shrubs from semi-ripe cuttings. Refer to the RHS website for excellent guidance on how to successfully carry out various forms of propagation. This month should bring the delights of soft fruits such as strawberries, raspberries and black currants. After harvesting summer raspberries, cut down the canes that have borne fruit, to ground level and tie in this year’s canes that will fruit next summer. It’s time to harvest French and runner beans, tomatoes and courgettes (before they become marrows). If you harvest them regularly, you will encourage more produce to ripen. You can also harvest early potatoes, beetroot and lettuce, whilst they are at their best. When garlic leaves have turned brown, the bulbs can be lifted. Choose a dry day to dig them up, lift them, shake off the soil from the roots and allow the bulbs to dry in the sun before you store them in a cool, dry place.