In July, the perennials take centre stage with so many different flowers to choose from. If you have a sunny border,plant it up for mid summer colour. For those with light well drained soil, plants such as Lychnis coronaria is an easy to grow flower with rosettes of silver grey leaves and in summer has 50cm stems of magenta pink or white flowers. They self seed easily. For something different, Limonium latifolium or Sea Lavender will grow in sandy soil. It has sprays of mauve flowers in summer. Achillea filipendulina varieties or Achillea millifolium cultivars will also grow in well drained soil in the sun. With flat heads of pink, red, yellow or white flowers about 60cm tall they will drift above lower growing perennial Geraniums.
For richer soils there are many more flowering perennials to choose from. A classic summer border flower is Phlox paniculata Bright Eyes. This upright plant has pink flowers with a lovely scent and grows to about 75cm. It is resistant to mildew and flowers over a long period. Plant it alongside the white Gypsophila paniculata Bristol Fairy. This will grow over 1m tall with many branching stems and double white flowers about 1cm across. Another spectacular flower is the large yellow daisy flower of Inula hookeri, up to 75cm tall. It prefers light shade and moist well drained soil. In time it will build up a large clump of yellow flowers for late summer and possibly into autumn. Echinops ritro or Globe Flower has 1m tall stems topped with balls of steely blue flowers adored by bees. The basal leaves can look tatty so plant behind something green to hide it!
Work to do in the garden includes controlling the Wisteria. Cut back those skinny long shoots made this season, to about 6 buds. Also prune Weigela just after flowering to encourage new shoots that will give flowers next year. Start trimming evergreen hedges and shrubs now so that new growth has time to harden off before winter. Keep watering vegetables and harvesting peas and French beans to keep them cropping.
If you would like to visit gardens, 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.
Stretton Old Hall gardens at Stretton, Tilston, Malpas is open on 7th July. It has 5 acres of different gardens from formal walks, herbaceous borders, walled kitchen garden and wildflower meadow walks.