Hello again, it doesn’t seem like a month has gone by since I sat down to write June’s newsletter. What lovely weather we have had since last time. The few spots of rain we have had have not been enough to damp the spirits or unfortunately the gardens.

The committee have come up with a couple of ideas to go along with the hanging basket competition that I mentioned a week or so ago. We will be running three competitions now as follows. • Prettiest hanging basket • Best tub or container • Nicest front garden All three will be judged on the last weekend in July. For further details and to get your name on the list of entries please see Chris at the Corner Stores. Discussions are under way at the moment about whether we could present the winners of each category with one of the trophies that are usually presented at the Summer Show, although they will not be engraved (it’s just for fun really.) We will also be having a longest runner bean competition in the autumn, so we had better get fertilising our bean patches!

Meanwhile here are some other July jobs we should be doing, apart from the obvious deadheading, weeding and watering. Give the lawn a quick-acting summer feed, especially if not given a spring feed. By mid-summer some lawns may be heavily infested by ants. Brushing out the nests on a dry day is the best method of control, and should be done prior to mowing. Autumn-flowering bulbs, such as autumn crocuses, Colchicum, Sternbergia, Amaryllis and Nerine, can be planted now. Cutting back plants in baskets followed by feeding can encourage new growth and help revive tired displays. Cut back delphiniums and geraniums after the first flush of flowers to encourage a second flowering period. Feed after cutting them back. Divide clumps of bearded iris. Prune June-flowering shrubs such as Philadelphus and Weigela after flowering. Prune deciduous magnolias if necessary. Propagation Take semi-ripe cuttings of shrubs such as Choisya, Hydrangea and Philadelphus. Root them in pots of gritty compost in a cold frame or even with a plastic bag tied over them. Take cuttings of patio and container plants ready for next year. Pinks and carnations that have become leggy, can be propagated by layering or by cuttings. Start collecting seed from plants you want to grow next year, especially annuals such as Calendula, poppy and love-in-a-mist. Remember ‘A garden is a friend you can visit anytime