July gardening ideas

Colourful Vegetables

Swiss Chard is one of the most strikingly beautiful garden plants. Its vibrant colourings and exquisite beauty earn Swiss Chard a deserving place in decorative gardens, as well as in kitchen gardens and potagers.  These magnificent vegetables produce fantastically colourful, edible stems which are best sautéed or steamed.  Swiss Chard’s lush green leaves can be eaten in a similar way to spinach or used as a vegetable wrap.

Swiss Chard produces these gorgeous leaves with colourful veining.

Although Swiss Chard leaves are always green, their stems and leaf veins can be either: cherry-red, zingy-yellow, punchy-magenta, warm-orange, shocking-pink, soft-cream, or white in colour. Seed packs with mixed colour varieties are available; look out for Swiss Chard ‘Bright Lights’ or ‘Rainbow’.  Alternatively, if you don’t want to grow the entire rainbow, look out for single colour seed packs, these usually offer seeds of ivory, red, or yellow stemmed cultivars.

Colourful Swiss Chard plants really stand out across the garden, but white and softer coloured varieties are also available.

I find Swiss Chard are easy plants to raise from seed.  The seedlings’ stem colours are evident even on young plants; this makes it achievable for gardeners to grow greater quantities of seeds from mixed packets to accurately source cultivars with the precise stem colours they wish for.  Once these plants start growing, we can quickly identify the plants that will complement our colour schemes.  Plants that don’t make your selection will undoubtedly fulfil friends’ and neighbours’ planting ambitions.

Both Swiss Chard stems and leaves are edible.

Beautiful waterlilies

The pink waterlily is Nymphaea ‘Chubby’ and the white one is Nymphaea ‘Pygmaea Helvola’.

Garden ponds often resemble tranquil Monet masterpieces in July.  If your waterlilies are shy to bloom or aren’t as floriferous as you would like, try raising your plants up to a higher position within the pond.  In shallower water, waterlilies experience warmer temperatures and brighter sunlight, which encourages them to bloom.  Place one or more bricks under your aquatic planters to hoist your waterlilies up, whilst ensuring that your waterlily planters are still fully submerged under the water.

While you’re tending to your waterlilies, add aquatic plant fertiliser tablets to their compost and check that waterlilies’ planters aren’t covered with heavy stones, which make it difficult for new growth to push through.

If you’re interested in ponds, you’ll find every article I’ve written about my wildlife pond, by clicking here.

Waterlilies thrive in still water, position these aquatic plants away from fountains or water features.

Planting for winter and springtime

It’s important to make the most of the moment and enjoy our gardens dressed in their fine summer florals, but it’s just as imperative that we plan for the coming seasons.  Snowdrops (Galanthus) are usually sold ‘in the green’ in late winter and early springtime, but in summertime dormant snowdrop bulbs become available.  Dormant bulbs tend to establish better and they’re easier to post than plants.  I’ve compiled a list of reputable snowdrop nurseries and suppliers.  If you want to grow snowdrops, my advice is not to dilly-dally – snap the bulbs up as soon as they become available and plant the same day in your garden.

Snowdrops thrive in partial and dappled shade; they’ll grow in any soil, except for wet and waterlogged soils.

This article was first published in the July 2021 edition of Vantage Point Magazine.

For more July gardening advice, please click here.

It’s Moth Night this month; check out the moths I’ve seen around my wildlife pond in July, by clicking here.

For advice on growing a wide range of vegetables, please click here.

To see a calendar of plant fairs, please click here.

For orchid articles, please click here.

For tips on growing houseplants, please click here.

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One thought on “July gardening ideas

  1. Lisa G

    July 13, 2021 at 7:53am

    A South African friend was confused by what was sold as spinach in the UK was not what she knew as spinach: turn out it was Swiss chard! I suspect this is due to chard being happier than spinach in warmer weather? She loved getting boxes of Bright Lights and Peppermint Stick chards from us – a taste of home.

    I grow another type of leaf beet, known as Erbette. Less flashy and exciting as the coloured Swiss chard, but the leaves and ribs are thinner, more tender and less “mineral” tasting, so wins over anyone who says they don’t like the taste/ texture of chard.

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      July 13, 2021 at 8:23am

      Hello Lisa

      It’s great to hear from you. That’s so lovely that you could supply your friend with a taste of home; what a wonderful thing to do! Plants of all kinds hold such precious memories within them -they can act rather like time machines.

      Erbette is lovely – I used to grow it (and Swiss chard, etc.) for restaurants. Happy memories!

      I hope you’re having a great week.

      Best wishes
      Beth

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