July is a busy month of watering, weeding, deadheading and pruning but it is also the time to enjoy the beautiful displays of our summer flowers.  

1. Check and strengthen or introduce supports for climbers and larger herbaceous perennials in case of high winds and heavy rain.

2. Cut back perennials that have finished flowering.

3. Edible flowers are blooming so try daisies, hibiscus, hollyhocks, nasturtiums, scented geraniums, roses, sunflowers and violas.

Smallholder:

Picking in early morning allows the flowers to retain their most intense flavour. Correct identification is vital, if you’re in any doubt, absolutely avoid.

4. Prune lupins, delphiniums and geraniums and feed to encourage new flowering.

5. Thinking towards next year, take cuttings from tender plants for over wintering.

6. Keep dead heading flowers with secateurs back to a leaf or side shoot to allow them to keep flowering.

7. In view of the likelihood that climate change is bringing hotter and drier summers - one of which we are undoubtedly experiencing - consider Mediterranean plants. Many have grey leaves and excel at coping with summer drought.

Smallholder:

Salvias

These include lavender, artemisia, cistus, helianthemum (rock rose), rosemary, Spanish broom, salvias, lambs ears, catmint and aubrietia.