Louise Curley, author of The Cut Flower Patch, shares this month’s planting diary.
'Mid-summer is the peak for any cut flower patch. July is all about maintaining your patch to get the most from your plants, to enjoy the fruits of your labour and to pick, pick, pick.
'Weeding, watering and deadheading might sound dull but there’s something really quite meditative about an hour or so pottering in amongst your flowers making everything look tidy and well-cared for. You’ll have the visual delight of the colourful tapestry of all of your flowers, the heady scent from sweet peas and the pleasure of seeing so many insects enjoying and sharing the plot too. So don’t see your time maintaining your plot as a chore but revel in the opportunity to be outdoors with bees buzzing and butterflies flying silently past.
'It’s easy for weeds to take over so keeping on top of them with a little regular hoeing is the best way for you and your flowers to not be overwhelmed. Get to weeds before they have a chance to flower and you’ll also prevent another generation of weeds springing up. Cut flower plants are much more tolerant of a dry spell than many vegetables but to keep your plants in tip-top shape, a watering once a week will be of benefit. A good soaking is much better than just a quick sprinkle every day or so. This is really just a waste of time as the water is not sufficient to penetrate the soil and much of it evaporates never actually making it to the plant.
'You won’t need to do too much deadheading if you’re picking flowers on a regular basis. But, if you go away for a holiday or there are flowers you didn’t get round to picking you’ll need to snip them off once they’ve gone over so that the plant doesn’t go to seed. Keep doing this over the summer and your plants will keep on blooming well into autumn.'