ITV’s Love Your Garden expert Katie Rushworth writes for The Dalesman every other month – here’s what you should be doing around your garden this month which features in July’s edition:

I cannot believe it’s July already! It seems like two minutes since I was sowing annuals that would hopefully fill my borders at the height of summer. now the garden is in full flow and so far I’m happy with the results.

I try to spend just ten minutes every morning walking around the garden to see what’s new that day. It brings me immense pleasure to see the plan that was in my head come together in front of me, but there are always things that don’t go to plan too.

This is the case for every gardener no matter how experienced and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise!
I had mixed results with my seed sowing. On the one hand the cosmos did a sterling job. Germinating quickly, they soon became bushy little plants.


The Verbena bonariensis, on the other hand, were a lot more stubborn. I placed them on a sunny windowsill but ended up with only a few weak seedlings.

My mum sowed hers in the greenhouse and while they still took almost six weeks to show any signs of life she ended up with almost thirty plants.
Hopefully, she’ll be prepared to trade. I think a bottle of my homemade elderflower cordial is worth at least five seedlings, don’t you?

But don’t think that the time to sow seeds is over; I will be sowing seeds now for next spring.
Wallflowers are first on my list as they did so well at giving me early spring colour, so I definitely want lots more.
I will also be growing more forget- me-nots (they are excellent at giving low ground cover and covering up any unsightly foliage on my spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils and tulips) and last but not least foxgloves.

I have a corner of shade that I’m hoping to help illuminate next summer by planting some tall white spires of Digitalis alba.
In other news, my new front garden was on TV. The Love Your Garden team filmed in their own gardens to make a new show during lockdown about growing your own food.

The planters in my front garden

It was a real challenge to transform areas of the space on my own all while social distancing with a cameraman; thank goodness my husband was on hand to help with the heavy lifting.
My main aim was to show people that you didn’t need lots of space to have a go at growing veggies and not everything has to be grown in rows like a traditional allotment; they can be really attractive additions to any garden.

I think the biggest success has to be the planters I put on my thin sliver of decking in the front garden.
I planted them up with artichokes, Angelica gigas and a mixture of herbs, and they made such a huge difference to the space.
They look so architectural and decorative, and on first glance you would never know they were full of edible plants.
I was chuffed to bits with them.


I have also been experimenting with lots of unusual edibles. The ones I’m most excited about are Galangal, a member of the ginger family, used in lots of Thai cooking, and Sichuan pepper, a gorgeous-looking shrub that has a wild-looking quality to it, which I hope will look good among the larger shrub roses.

Overall, my garden is looking very different to how it did in March when I first began to plant it up. If anything, I’m struggling to fit anything else in!
I have to confess I’m a bit of a plantaholic. I just can’t help myself, I convince myself there is always room for one more plant.

I have also started to make notes and take pictures of what has done well and what I want to move around in the autumn time.
This is a really useful thing to start doing, especially if like me you are likely to forget.
A garden is never static, there are always new plants and new combinations to try.

Jobs for July:

* Deadheading perennials and roses.
* Hand weed or hoe borders, being careful not to disturb things that are in flower.
* Cut back early perennials like geraniums and astrantia after flowering; they will give you a second flush of flowers that should last until the first frosts.
* Regular feeding and deadheading of your sweet peas and bedding plants.
* Take softwood cuttings of plants like lavender, penstemon and fuchsia and hydrangeas.

Plant of the month:

Penstemons in all their many colourful varieties will give you a stunning display well into autumn, mine have been known to still be in flower on Christmas day!
A great addition to any border.

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