July can be a fun and productive month in the cottage garden.
Not only are your borders burgeoning, but there are ample opportunities to enhance your plantings with seeds and garden center bargains.
First, the not so fun tasks:
If your garden is like mine, everything needs deadheading, particularly the roses, hydrangeas, geraniums, sweet peas and hostas. Regular trimming will keep them looking tidy and will encourage reblooming.
July is the perfect time to compost those trimmings and to use that compost to mulch and feed your borders. Commercial bark mulch leaches nitrogen from your soil. Using composted organic matter to mulch your plants actually improves the quality of your soil.
If you use layers and layers of bark mulch every year, you will soon be trying to grow your plants in nothing but bark mulch. It doesn’t work. And people often think there’s something wrong with the plants.
If you must use bark mulch, try mixing it with compost, or add the compost first and top with a light layer of bark mulch.
Rainfall in July can be spotty in many areas, while the heat and humidity can soar. Make sure you keep your garden properly hydrated with periodic long soakings rather than daily sprinkles.
Now the fun part:
Planting seeds every few weeks for quick growing, colorful flowers such as sunflowers and nasturtiums will provide new interest in the garden throughout the rest of the summer. Also, now is the time to scout garden centers for end of season bargains.
And start planning your fall garden/plantings. Fall is the best time to plant some of the most popular plants such as peonies and alliums.
And be sure to take some time to slow down and enjoy the results of all your hard work!