Take a good look at the annuals in beds, borders and containers, and think about colour changes. Orange marigolds and red salvias are bright, but very hot-looking on a summer’s day. Why not go for the cooler colours? Blue forget-me-nots, pale yellow marigolds, white petunias and begonias all look good in the sun and light up shady areas. Think of colour too when planning to plant winter and spring annuals. Make lists of which plants you want to bring into the garden, then make a plan of where they are going to go according to their colour. It is possible to obtain some annuals in separate colours, which makes it possibel to work out blending and contrasts, bearing in mind that white, blue and grey are good for toning down brilliant colours.
- Give seed trays a good scrub and fill them with seedling mixture, ready for sowing.
- Keep everything as cool and damp as possible; keep up a good thick mulch.
- If trees are throwing too much shade, remove the lower branches (a few at a time).
- Take tip cuttings of fuchsias, azaleas, hibiscus and other woody stems. Take stems of about 10cm and remove all but the top few leaves. Plant them in damp sand.
- Disbud chrysanthemums and dahlias if you want bigger terminal blooms to develop.
- Keep all perennials deadheaded. When they have finished flowering, cut the flowered stems right down to the ground and divide if necessary.
- Annuals need regular, deep watering and a general fertilizer when they are in good leaf.
- CMR (blister) beetles and rose beetles lay waste roses and other flowers. Go out quite early in the mornings and drop them into hot, salty water.
- Keep birdbaths full and in the middle of a hot day, remove the near-boiling water and replace it with cool water.