Time to prune and plan your summer garden

We are in the last stretch of winter. Time to prune, start thinking about colourful flowers to plant in spring and what veggies to sow.

We’re planting …Verbena ‘Firehouse’ for vibrant winter and spring colour on the patio and in the garden. It is a spreading verbena, up to 55cm, that works well as a filler in mixed containers and baskets, as well as a groundcover in gardens. Start it in a pot for colour on a warm sunny patio that is protected from frost. As a garden plant it needs frost protection and if planted now will provide spring into summer colour. It tolerates heat, grows in ordinary garden soil that drains well and likes regular, but not excessive watering. Its wide range of colours makes it easy to add into any garden colour scheme. Also resistant to powdery mildew. New colours include ‘Blue Fizz’ and ‘Violet wink.

Indoor plant of the month: Peperomia ‘Watermelon’ is a striking little plant with large, fleshy leaves that look like the rind of a watermelon. Even when full grown it is compact and bushy, fitting easily on a bookcase, desk-top, windowsill or wherever its unusual leaves can be appreciated. This is a good plant for a beginner, being easy to care for. It just needs enough bright light and no over watering.

Veggie of the month: there is nothing sweeter than eating garden peas from the pod. ‘Tom Thumb’ is a dwarf bush pea from RAW seeds that is fun for the kids to plant in containers or small spaces.  Plants grow 30cm high and 10cm wide, which means that you can plant them 10cm apart along a mini trellis. Pods are best when harvested young, within 50 days from germination. The peas are sweet and crunchy.

Tips for garden peas

  • Grow in full sun.
  • Plant in fertile, compost enriched soil or potting soil.
  • Keep the soil moist, especially for plants in containers.
  • Fertilise once a month.
  • Keep on picking, especially to encourage new pods.

Garden tasks for July

  • Prune bush roses from 20 July to first week in August. Cut back bushes by one-third, removing dead wood and old stems, criss-crossing and weak growth. Enrich the soil after pruning with compost, fertilise with Vigorosa and water well.
  • In dry areas water the compost heap once a month to keep it active.
  • Fertilise pansies, violas, petunias, and primulas flower to keep them flowering.
  • Water veggies once a week and feed once a month with a liquid fertiliser.
  • Cover tender plants with frost cloth if very cold weather is predicted.
  • Water vegetables and herbs in containers twice a week.
  • Continue to protect conifers from the Italian Cypress aphid. an organic insecticide or use insecticide granules sprinkled around the base of the conifer.

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