Dog days of summer have arrived for your garden

Dog days of summer have arrived for your garden
Green Fingers


The dog days of July usually bring the heat of the summer with them. If your lawn dries up and turns brown, raise the height of your mower and keep cutting it, just not as often. This keeps it tidy and stops it going to seed. Resist the temptation to water it. It’s not dead, just resting and conserving energy. It will green up as soon as it rains enough. If a lawn gets watered regularly, its roots don’t go deep in search of water and will stay close to the surface of the sod. Any short dry spell will therefore cause it to go brown. If you made a lawn last autumn–spring, water it if you must, but only during a long, dry spell.

Dead head roses as the flowers fade, it encourages them to keep flowering and speeds up the process. Don’t just snip off the flower head, follow the stem back down 10cm/4in and cut just above a healthy leaf. If there is a lower down side shoot, cut just above it. When the June flush of flowers is over, roses are in need of feed to bring on the next flush. Always water it when you use festiliser. If your roses are in a mixed border, make sure to wash off any granules that are on the leaves of other plants as it will cause them to scorch.


Prune philadelphus by following the stems right down until you have a side shoot that doesn’t have a dead flower at its tip and cut just above it. Go through the whole plant doing this.

Wisteria also needs to be pruned. This will be the first of two prunings that it needs – the other is in mid-winter. Cut back all big whippy tendrils to 15cm/6in. This makes the plant build up lots of short, flowering spurs. Therefore it will have fewer leaves and more flowers.

Continue to cut fast-growing hedges such as privet and lonicera to keep them in shape. Cut back the flower spikes of lupins and delphiniums as soon as they are over.

Follow the dead flower head down into the crown of the plant and above a side shoot. If there are none, go down to the basel cluster of leaves and cut.

Early flowering perennials such as oriental poppies, pulmonaria and brunnera can be cut to ground. Water after cutting and they will produce new healthy foliage. Keep watering, feeding and deadheading summer bedding. If they dry out and start to wilt, immerse them in water until the air bubbles stop rising. This will bring them back if they are not too far gone. Make sure to have a source of clean water available in your garden for wildlife.