The July Garden: How to extend the life of flower borders
At this time of year, herbaceous perennials (flowering plants that die back in winter and return the following year) are often starting to look worse for wear. Many of them will have already flowered and, while they may still be producing flowers, they aren’t looking at their best.
To encourage roses to keep flowering remove spent flowerheads using secateurs. Make the cut below the dead flowerhead, just above a leaf or bud. If you have large rose plants you will need to do this every couple of days to get the best out of them.
Hardy geraniums that have already flowered can be cut right back to just above ground level. This will encourage a new flush of fresh leaves and, if you’re lucky, a second round of flowers.
Cut back dead foliage and flower stems from spring-flowering plants to make your borders look tidier.
Tall plants will also need staking if you haven’t already done it. You don’t need to buy expensive metal stakes; twigs from birch or other trees can be pushed into the ground and create a more natural plant support which will soon be hidden by foliage.
If you find that by July all your plants have finished flowering and you want to extend the flowering period of the border, there are some lovely late-flowering perennials that will take you through into autumn. Why not try asters, sedum, rudbeckia or phlox?
Post by Charlotte Ridley, RHS qualified garden designer