Summer may have been shortened by a few weeks but  it seems like we’re finally back on track.
July’s colours are radiant. They are rainbow hues, more vivid than spring’s gentler, pretty palette and can warm the coldest heart. Here’s a great easy way to maximize colour:  allow perennials to seed themselves and grow en masse to create an English garden. Stand back and watch masses of brilliant July colour increase year after year.
One of the great delights of gardening are plantings that arrive “air mail” via the birds. I have a huge, laden blackberry bush that arrived from above. The most amazing things can show up. Wildflowers often  make their way into my hood that way,  as does fruit.
Vegetables can still be planted. Research your gardening zone to see what will come to fruition by fall. Lettuce and spinach can be planted every three weeks or so, but only in the coolest spots.
Check time tested sites like the Canadian Harrowsmith Almanac the Farmers’ Almanac and the Old Farmers’ Almanac just to be sure.
After July some plants will begin to dry and fade. The longer they’re exposed to heat and light and the longer they “work” is beginning to show, but judicious fertilising helps. Natural fertilisers like compost from your heap are best. Stop feeding plant foods in late summer except for special circumstances.
Good rains are to be desired, not shunned. Every gardener knows that.  It’s odd that TV weather people seem so sad and guilty when forecasting rain. Me, I’m jumping up and down with glee alongside the farmers. Life isn’t all beach balls and theme parks; its food that grows in and on the ground and pretty flowers and they exist because of rain.
During dry spells, I’ll water a newly planted cedar hedge with a drip hose, running it for about a half hour in morning or evening, and lock it in with mulch. Once in a while I’ll water flower and vegetable beds if conditions warrant it. I try to hit the foot of the plant because watering the leaves and flowers is useless. Water can foster rot and mildew and break a plant but mostly it will just evaporate.
My mother had beautiful gardens and lawns based on the principles of xeriscaping: using drought tolerant plants, plenty of mulch and smart use of terrain. She never watered a thing and there was always plenty of colour and variety.
My advice is to enjoy the heck out of your garden this short summer. Eat what you can and think about what might be nice next year. My neighbour and I share a patch of ground by the air mail blackberry bush so we’ve started a fruit salad garden, adding blueberry and gooseberry bushes. The blackberries will be ready soon and they will taste like summer for years to come.
Thank you, birds.
Thank you, rain.