Sometimes writing editorial is a rather difficult and onerous task. Inspiration doesn’t come, and I spend hours looking at a computer screen just wondering what to write about. Other months, I have such a passion for something that I can’t wait to tell you all about it, and it’s just easy! I was having a little struggle this month, but following on from my comments last month on reducing our plastic waste and continuing our commitment to expanding our green credentials, you may like to know that we have a collecting bin in the car park for Planet Aid, a recycling point for unwanted clothes, we use compostable boxes and take away cups in the café, and all our straws are paper. We recycle all our cardboard, plastic and glass items where possible. Our plant and gift displays are all made from up- or recycled pallets or wood, and we reuse, or remodel as much as we can.

Most of our plants come from nurseries within 20 miles of the Shop, and they use peat free media and are moving into coloured pots (grey, taupe etc), which are able to be recycled at the kerbside with your other plastic waste. Our compost supplier has this year started to pack their product into compostable plastic sacks, so easily disposed of.

If anyone has any ideas for other forms of recycling, then please let us know as I am passionate about trying to be as sustainable as possible. If we all do a little, together we can make a big difference.

After a damp and cold May, and a variable June, I hope that July brings us some much looked for warmer weather to bring on the gardens and veggies! We certainly need it now!

Plant of the moment – Salvia

Over the last four to five years the genus of salvia’s has really become one of my most favourite. There is a large and diverse range from the well-known culinary sages (in many and various colours, including my favourite which is Tricolour), to half-hardy annuals, to hardy perennials, to shrubby varieties. They are all aromatic, and have a wonderful scent when squeezing a leaf. Pictured is Honey Sage, and it really does smell of honey! The hardy perennials are particularly well-suited to well-drained dry soils as they are particularly drought tolerant. Best planted in groups, they will reward you with flower from now until October or even November! If you are more attracted to the tender varieties, plant them in a pot and bring them into a frost-free environment during the winter.

Top tips on growing Salvias …Remember that Salvia’s originate from the Mediterranean so like to be in full sun and dig in plenty of grit before planting. Hardy perennial types can be cut back hard in spring or autumn. Half-hardy herbaceous types can be cut back in autumn but must then spend winter in a frost-free place. If you’re attempting to keep them outside resist pruning until spring. Shrubby types should be lightly pruned in spring – prune these in autumn and new growth will form that can be hit by frost.

If you’re not sure what salvia you are growing then leave pruning until spring. This will offer them some protection over winter.

THINGS TO DO IN JULY?

  • Feed and water all plants in containers regularly.
  • Tall growing perennial herbaceous plants may need some support if it isn’t already in place.
  • Prune shrubs that flowered in early summer.
  • Most gardeners give their borders a feed and top dress in the Spring but a further dressing now is very beneficial, particularly if applied after cutting down any early flowering plants.
  • Summer-prune wisteria.
  • Deadhead flowers as they fade.
  • After rose flowers have shed their petals it is important to deadhead.  This helps a good second flush of new flowers in a few weeks time.
  • Divide bearded irises.
  • After flag irises have finished flowering, they will benefit from a dressing of Epsom Salts.  This will encourage better blooms for next year.
  • Layer and take cuttings of carnations and pinks.
  • Plant autumn-flowering bulbs.
  • Transplant seedlings of biennials sown earlier.
  • Mowing the lawn will be taking up quite some time now, but remember, if you have applied a weedkiller and/or moss killer not to add the clippings to your compost heap, or put into the council green collection until after the third cut as it will still be toxic. Definitely not wanted in the green waste as it is then used by compost manufacturers as a peat replacement.
  • The vegetable plot should be yielding all the results of previous hard work which is very rewarding.  If runner beans are dropping flowers, then a light misting with water will help them to set better. Consider growing sweet peas close to or alongside beans to encourage bees and pollinating insects. Keep small sowings of the salad crops going for a good continuity – radish, for instance, can be sown every week but don’t forget to keep it well watered to prevent the roots going ‘pithy’. During hot, dry weather lettuces may be prone to bolting so try adding some shade and keep them well watered.

THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO….

  • Fill any gaps in beds and borders with bedding
  • Sow the last vegetables for harvesting in Autumn
  • Plant out all winter brassicas
  • If next Spring’s wallflowers have not been sown yet, don’t delay, otherwise it will be too late.

GET IN FRONT….

  • Make plans to ensure plants are cared for if you are taking a holiday
  • Plan Spring-flowering bulbs

Happy gardening!

Sue Brown

Opening hours:            Shop: 9.00-5.00pm Monday to Saturday, 10.00 -4.00pm Sunday
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King Street, Colyton, Devon EX24 6PD
Tel: 01297 551113 { Mobile: 07805 956157
Email: info@gardenshopcolyton.co.uk