Mid Summer Jobs in the Flower Garden
Jobs to do
Preparing the soil for sowing outdoors
This is only a case of preparing for one group of plants, which are to be transplanted, so a small seed-bed can be got ready in the nursery-bed; it will not be long in use.
Preparing the soil for planting outdoors
Most of the planting now will be of autumn-, so look for a place where the soil is naturally medium to well drained and on the sunny side. Mix in plenty of grit if it is not, about 3.5kg per sq m (7lb per sq yd), and a little rotted organic matter, if the soil is poor, at 1.5kg per sq m (3lb per sq yd). These are used, in their natural , to very good and baking sun in summer; you will find that most bulbs grown in such conditions, if you have them, will seed themselves without any encouragement.
Preparing compost for potting Here the work to be done consists of potting on pricked-out plants from seed, so the compost should be the J.I. Potting No. 1 type or whatever you are using as its equivalent.
This is an excellent time to sow pansies in order to have plants in flower from late spring onwards next year. If you have a heavy soil, the beginning of mid-summer is the most suitable time, and for warm gardens and, the end of the period is preferable. The timing is fairly important: too soon and they will grow large enough to be badly damaged by wind and frost before flowering, too late and they will be so small when ready for planting that they will not establish before winter. Sow the seed thinly in rows about 20-25cm (8-10in) apart, making the drill about 2.5cm (1in) deep and just covering the seed firmly. If the soil is dry, water the rows before sowing, and sprinkle gently but thoroughly after the soil has been returned. Pansies need a well-drained soil.
, autumn-flowering and Nerine bowdenii can be planted in mid-summer; the depth of planting should be about 7.5-12.5cm (3-5in) for colchicum, 7.5cm (3in) for autumn-flowering crocus and sufficiently shallow for nerines for the neck of the bulb to be just above the soil surface. Both the crocus and the colchicum produce their flowers before the leaves at the end of late summer and in early autumn and will grow and flower best in a sunny place, though dappled shade is not unsuitable. Nerine bowdenii, from South Africa, will need sun and a wall to back the bed in which it is growing. Plant all these bulbs at a spacing of a few cm (in) from each other, and leave undisturbed for several years.
You can also plant outdoors in their permanent places the perennial seedlings produced last month; spacing will be roughly in proportion to the height of the plants, allowing a space between each plant of a kind, two-thirds of its height: eg., aquilegias 30cm (12in) high would have 20cm (8in) between plants.
Anysown in late spring which are to be transplanted should be moved now, in the way advised in that season and there may also be some from early summer, if they were sown early enough and have come on well. Pansies sown at the beginning of mid-summer may need transplanting at the end of it.
Seed sown in thein early summer will need moving into trays and will include cineraria, calceolaria, and Primula malacoides, obconica, sinensis and stellata. Done at the beginning of mid-summer, they may well need potting up separately by the end of it, especially the cinerarias and calceolarias. They can all go into the cold frame when pricked out.
Primulas, polyanthus and primroses, sown in early summer, will need pricking out 7.5cm (3in) apart each way, still in shaded places.
There may still be some late-sown hardyand annuals and that need a final thinning; early-summer-sown biennials will need one or two thinnings in mid-summer.
The greenhouse plants grown from seed sown in early summer, Primula malacoides, sinensis and stellata, and calceolarias and cinerarias, may need to go into their first pots towards the end of mid-summer. Cinerarias and calceolarias are likely to fit 7.5cm (3in) pots but primulas are slow to grow and have delicate little roots to start with, so 5cm (2in) diameter pots will suit them. Primula malacoides, sown in late spring, may now need a 7.5cm (3in) pot, cobaea and ipomoea will be coming on fast and could use a 15cm (6in) pot or even their final size pot, 20cm (8in), and cinerarias from late spring may need a 7.5cm (3in) pot. With good compost and careful potting, it is often possible to skip a pot size and jump straight from 7.5cm (3in) to 12.5cm (5in), which saves time and compost. You can do this with many plants, the exceptions being the ones such as primulas, which are fastidious about drainage.
Any plants permanently in pots should be given fresh compost and larger pots as required, if you find the roots are well on to the outside of the soilball. By now, however, only the most vigorous and fast-growing will need this treatment.
Nerine samiensis, which is really not frost-hardy, unlike N. bowdenii, should be potted during mid-summer for flowering in early autumn; each bulb should have a 12.5cm (5in) pot and should just have its neck above the compost surface. A cactus compost would not come amiss, as they do like good drainage; after planting, give the bulb a good soak, let the superfluous water drain off and then give it a sunny position. The leaves will appear during or after flowering.