This month in your garden

Pot plants are vulnerable and do need your assistance at this time. Slow-release fertiliser is hard to get these days, but it was good for releasing food gradually over a period of time to help sustain the plants.  An alternative is to mix a measure of Phostrogen with the water in your watering can on a weekly or fortnightly basis and it should help to nourish your plants at this difficult time of the year. Move them into some shade for the next couple of months, and they may survive. Pelargoniums make excellent pot plants, but even they need some moisture every couple of days.  Moving pots onto a tray of small stones or pebbles in the shade, and watering them there, can also help plants along. Remember that just as many plants die from being over-watered, as under-watered.

Insects are still around and new growth on wisteria maybe attacked by black flies, which weren’t around earlier on and with citrus fruit finished for the moment, Mediterranean Fruit Flies will home in on nectarines and peaches. Hang some of those sticky yellow cards obtained from any garden centre or DIY store amongst your fruit trees.  The Asian Citrus Leaf Minor has certainly been around in our garden, disfiguring new growth on the citrus leaves. Once these little grubs hatch out inside the leaves, then it is too late to do anything about them.  The trees should be sprayed early in the season, in order to keep away the moth that lays the eggs.

Climbers like hoya and stephanotis are soaring skywards in shaded spots, as are the lovely Mandevilla splendens in pinks, reds and whites,so make sure that they have some support so that they can climb away. Jasminum grandiflorum and Cestrum nocturnum, the latter known as ‘Pakistani Nights’ because of its heady perfume, scent the night air and if you have planted them near a window or door, then you will enjoy their perfumes wafting in on the evening breezes.  Other climbers like Mandevilla splendens, known as ‘Brazilian Jasmine’ prefer more humid gardens and can grow equally well in a pot as in the ground, but as they started life in jungle surroundings, they are best grown out of our summer sun. They can have red, pink or white trumpet-shaped flowers but they do not have a perfume, which is a pity. Canna lilies are tropical and sub-tropical flowering plants with large, banana-like leaves. They grow from rhizomes and thrive in pots as well as in the garden. They like plenty of heat, so grow them in full sun in the garden or in pots, but they can also tolerate partial shade.  You may see them growing in huge clumps in village gardens here, but they are mostly bright red.  Don’t forget your indoor plants during this very hot time of the year. They can suffer from the heat and perhaps a dry atmosphere indoors, so perhaps a little misting might be appropriate, but don’t water them too much.