July is a month when the classic English herbaceous border is seen at its best. The gardens mentioned below have lovely borders and will give you ideas of plants to grow in your own garden.
I love the herbaceous borders filled with perennials that pop up year after year. Agapanthus with its large heads of deep blue or white flowers and green strap like leaves it is an architectural plant for a hot sunny border and grows best in well drained soil and moisture at the roots.
Another good plant for a sunny site is Lychnis coronaria also known as Bridget–in–her-bravery according to the RHS website. If you have a sandy well drained soil in baking sun then this will be an asset to any border. It has grey/silvery soft leaves with magenta pink or white flowers. It does not last long but it will seed happily about your garden.
Lavenders are also a lovely small shrub for a sunny border. If you want the classic lavender scent then go for English Lavender Lavendula angustifolia. With many different varieties of English Lavender to choose from (over 250 apparently) there will be one for a pot or a gravelly soil and baking hot sunny border. Compact varieties like Hidcote or Munstead are better for smaller areas.
In July cut back flowering shrubs such as Lilac, Weigela, Cistus and Philadelphus, just after they finish flowering, if you want to reduce them in size. Cut off dead flowers from Roses, Penstemons, Delphiniums, Centaurea, Nepeta and Lupins and you may well get a second flush of flowers in late summer – always a bonus!
Dead heading annuals in pots will keep them flowering and do remember to keep pots well watered in dry weather. Sow salad seeds of radishes, rocket, lambs lettuce and lettuce for autumn cropping.
If you would like to visit gardens for ideas and a lovely afternoon tea, I suggest you look out for gardens open under the National Gardens Scheme where all proceeds go to charities including Marie Cure Cancer Care and Macmillan Cancer Support. In Chester, on 4th and 5th July, 150 Barrell Well Hill gardens are open. On a series of terraces going down to the River Dee you can see perennials and shrubs for sun, a stream and bog garden. The Rowans at Threapwood near Malpas is open on 11th and 12th July has an Italianate theme. With formal and natural areas including ponds it is a fascinating garden to visit.