It may be the heart of winter, but that shouldn’t keep you out of the garden. July is a busy month of pruning roses, cutting back trees and sowing late plantings of your favourite winter veggies. Find more planting tips, as well as ideas to attract feathery friends to your winter garden in this July gardening guide.
Spotlight on: Attracting wildlife to your garden
The benefits of birds are twofold: they manage pests naturally and their melodic chirps are soothing sounds in a garden. There’s a short supply of food during the winter months, so make an extra effort this season to attract birds and other wildlife with these tips:
- Plant an indigenous aloe – its nectar attracts birds and insects beneficial to your garden.
- Grow vygies and rock roses as a source of food and water. Vygies also attract various insects with their small pollen deposits. Rock roses attract insects when their flowers are in bloom, which is beneficial to both your garden and birds.
- Encourage butterflies and bees to the garden with a selection of flowering fynbos plants such as pincushion, buchu, wax flower and erica varieties.
- Buy a bird feeder and a birdbath, and place them in a sheltered place in the garden to welcome feathered friends.
- Make a DIY bird snack by stringing pieces of dried fruit on a long piece of twine with a large needle, knotting the twine at intervals to keep the dried fruit in place – it’s incredibly simple and the birds will love it.
- Here’s a DIY bird feeder even the kids can help make: mix peanut butter and bird seed and spoon into the small cracks of a pinecone. Tie the pine cone with string and hang in a tree.
ON YOUR TO-DO LIST FOR JULY
Plant & Sow
- Ferns are not only trendy but have great air-purifying benefits too. Plant some easy-to-grow species, such as the dainty maidenhair, striking yellow sword fern, tough holly fern and evergreen leatherleaf fern varieties, in your garden or in pots.
- Plant colourful flowers in the garden, such as pansies, violas, snapdragons, calendula, primulasand gazanias.
- There’s still time to sow late plantings of green peas, lettuce, spinach, cabbage and carrots. Avoid planting oriental vegetables, as they tend to bolt as the days get progressively longer leading up to spring.
Prune & Trim
- July is a great time to remove any deadwood, leaves and diseased branches.
- Pinch off faded flowers from winter-flowering annuals such as pansies, violas and poppies.
- When pruning hydrangeas, remove all damaged, diseased or dead growth. Cut back the stems above thick, round, green buds.
- Pruning roses encourages bigger, better blooms. Mid-July to mid-August is a good time to prune hybrid roses, tea roses and miniature roses. Water once a week now to allow them to rest. Seal cuts thicker than a pencil with Efekto Steriseal and spray with Efekto Oleum.
- Cut back trees that are getting too big.
- Feed winter-flowering annuals with foliar fertiliser, like Dr Fisher’s Multifeed Flowergro, every two weeks.
- Feed cymbidium orchids every two weeks with Pokon Orchid Plant Food.
- Citrus trees need to be fed with Wonder Fruit & Flower 3:1:5 slow-release fertiliser, then watered well. Dig fertiliser into the soil for best effect. Add mulch with acid compost to improve the soil’s pH levels.
- Feed cool-season lawns like All Seasons Evergreen with 3:1:5 or Kirchhoffs Ludwig’s Vigorosa 5:1:5 fertiliser to give them a boost, particularly during extreme weather conditions.
- Treat aphids on vegetable plants such as cabbage and cauliflower with Kirchhoffs Ludwig’s Insect Spray+.
- Treat aphids on shrubs, roses and succulents with Efekto Malasol. Use the same pesticide to get rid of scale and mites on aloes.
- Use Ludwig’s Copper Count N (an organic insecticide) to treat black spots on aloes.
- Use either Efekto Malasol or Efekto Oleum to get rid of scale on citrus trees.
- To encourage continued flowering throughout winter and into spring, plant stocks and Iceland poppies.
- To keep your vegetable garden healthy and strong, continue to water deeply once a week.
OTHER FRESH IDEAS
Take the garden indoors
As winter settles in, don’t give up gardening completely. Invest in some lush, air-purifying plants to fill your indoor space and keep your green fingers busy. We have a wonderful range on our online shop – you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your warm bed as they are delivered (for free!) to your home.