In the third
week of this month you can 'Chelsea chop' your summer-flowering perennials to
delay their flowering times. Sedums can be cut back by two thirds to provide
lusher foliage, but at the expense of flower. 'Matrona' (the sturdiest
pigeon-grey and pink sedum of all) responds well, as does 'Purple Emperor' -
the best of the dark-leaved sedums. Reduce the front stems of phlox, heleniums
and all yellow daisies, leaving the back two thirds alone. That way any drying
foliage will be hidden by the later flowers at the front.
to stake plants that flop and metal plant supports will prevent peonies and
other heavy-headed plants from being weighed down by summer rain. Canes can
also work well, but do cap them. The Scottish oak cane caps will not only
protect your eyes, they will age to silver after a year or so.
So many plants
form mounds that, if you're not careful your garden will resemble a rumpled
duvet after a bad night. To add height, introduce bee-friendly spires to rise
above the pack, such as Verbascum chaixii 'Album', Aconitum 'Spark's Variety'
and Veronicastrum virginicum 'Lavendelturm'. Or, add some upright features.
These could be willow tripods, or metal obelisks, both of which will provide a
vertical presence, linking earth to sky.
Sow Runner and French
Wait until the
middle of this month and then sow some beans around a tripod of willow poles.
Use three beans per tripod and mix the varieties. 'Painted Lady' (red and
white-flowered) and 'Lady Di' (an all-red) have attractive flowers followed by
tasty runner beans. These tripods are pretty enough to be grown in a flower
Plant up large,
easy-care containers with drought-tolerant, scented leaved pelargoniums now and
they will shine until the first frosts. Mix the perfumed 'Attar of Roses' with
the minty divided foliage of 'Grey Lady Plymouth'. Then add a splash of colour,
courtesy of Verbena 'Claret', to liven up the soft foliage.ow Runner and French