• And the flowers, and vegetables!

What to do in your garden in July

At Keith Kirsten Horticulture International, we’re eternal optimists. We believe that the watering can is half-full, not half empty, and so we’re already looking forward to spring. It’s hard to believe that half of 2019 has flown by already, but all of this means that warmer, sunnier weather is on the way!

While there’s a lot of pleasure to be gained from daydreaming about summer in your garden, there are a few jobs to keep you busy in your garden this July, and yes, that does mean going outside in the cold – so wrap up warm!

One of the most important tasks at this time of year is pruning – cutting away dead and diseased parts of plants to give the remaining healthier parts the best possible chance. Arm yourself with a new (or newly sharpened) pair of secateurs, and let’s get to it!

This month, we’re going to be taking a closer look at pruning roses. Roses, after all, are very much on our minds, with Nelson Mandela Day falling this month – the Nelson Mandela Rose named in his honour makes a wonderful addition to any garden.

When and how you prune your roses will vary depending on how severe winters tend to be in your area, and what kinds of rose you have. As a general rule, the milder your winter weather, the earlier you can start pruning (mid-July is typically the earliest you should start).

Correct pruning is an art form, so we’d urge you not to cut corners. Either get professional help from your local garden centre or attend a rose pruning demonstration to ensure that you make the cut.

Cut mature rose bushes back to about knee height, aiming for an overall ‘cup’ shape. Always cut at an angle, just above an outward-facing bud. You’ll get the best new growth from strong, smooth, green shoots, rather than older, woodier stems.

If you have miniature roses in your garden, cut these back by about half. Be sure to remove all thin or diseased stems as these will only hinder future growth.

Climbing roses should also be pruned, with the oldest canes being cut all the way down to ground level. Check that trellises are sturdy and secure and tie new shoots to them for support.

After the ‘shock’ of being pruned, your roses will appreciate a good feed with rose fertiliser, and the application of a thick layer of compost. Spray carefully to ward off any fungi.

What to plant and where to buy it

We don’t know who started the myth that you can’t plant anything in the middle of winter, but the good news is that they’re wrong! Keep an eye on social media for special offers being announced by your local nursery or garden centre and take advantage of some of these great deals to add flowers, vegetables and even trees to your outdoor space. This July, why not add new varieties to your organic veggie patch, and add to the colour palette of your garden with some winter-blooming varieties? That way, you can get heart-warming colour and flavours!

Our favourite options for July planting are the ones that offer both colour and flavour in a single plant. That’s why we’re such big fans of ruby-red rhubarb and emerald asparagus spears.

You can also add new plants indoors – windowsill gardening (especially with herbs) makes even more sense in winter, while container plants can be used to add colour and interest to your patio.

Colour bags of pansies, violas and calendula represent a quick win when it comes to added garden colour – if you find them on special, go wild! Varieties with warm colours are best – look for fiery oranges and yellows, or warm pinks.

You can also plant bare-rooted deciduous fruit trees during July, as long as you’ve taken care to prepare the holes in advance. Last but not least, don’t hold back when it comes to sowing seeds in your organic veggie patch - then look forward to those delicious, healthful leafy greens.

Garden Events in July

There are two wonderful garden events coming up this month, and we wouldn’t want to miss either of them. Neither should you!

Nelson Mandela Day - July 18

Don't forget to buy your Nelson Mandela Rose (Keith Kirsten Waterfall Wilds)this Nelson Mandela Day.

Malanseuns Spring Trade Show - July 24

Visit the Waterhouse stand at the Malanseuns Trade Show. Spring is just around the corner! Be sure to visit our stand at this years Malanseuns Trade Show.