Clacton Road, Essex, CO16 9DN
01255 831083

June 30, 2024

July Gardening Tips from Hilltop Garden Centre

Hello from the Hilltop team! We’re delighted to share some gardening tips and advice for the beautiful month of July. As a family-run business specialising in quality plants and friendly customer service for over 75 years, Hilltop Garden Centre understands the importance of the home and garden. We're here to help your garden, home, and life bloom brighter with our expert advice. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just getting started, July is a fantastic month to get your hands dirty and enjoy your outdoor space. Let’s dive into some gardening tips and jobs to keep you busy this month.

Plant Hydrangeas from Hilltop garden centre in Essex

Plant Hydrangeas - Hilltop's Plant of the Month

Hydrangeas are our plant of the month for July, and it’s easy to see why. These stunning plants are perfect for brightening up your garden borders throughout the summer months with their showy flowers in shades of blue, pink, and white. Hydrangeas are not only visually appealing during the summer, but many varieties also offer attractive autumn colour and unique leaf shapes. If you have a north or east-facing wall, consider planting climbing hydrangeas for a beautiful vertical display.

When planting hydrangeas, we recommend mixing Rocket Gro Ericaceous organic compost (get 2 bags for £13 at Hilltop) in with the soil for healthy growth. Apply Hydrangea Feed to the soil when planting, and top dress with this tailored fertiliser every spring by raking or forking the feed into the surface of the soil, and then water in well. This granular feed is packed with magnesium and iron to support strong, healthy growth, quality and encourage an abundance of flowers.

Top Tip: If you want to change the colour of your Hydrangeas from pink to blue, our Hydrangea Colourant is perfect. Hydrangeas produce blue flowers when grown in soil with iron or aluminium salts. Pale pink varieties turn blue best, while darker pinks may turn mauve or blue. For optimal results, use acid soil, but double the proportions for alkaline soil.

  • Suitable for both pot-grown and outdoor hydrangeas
  • Easily dissolves in hot water
  • Mix with soil for best results

Simply mix Hydrangea Colourant with the soil where the roots will grow. After establishment, dilute as directed and water weekly during the growing season.

These versatile plants can be grown both in the ground and in pots: this month you could take advantage of our special offer on glazed pots which are 2 for £35, normally priced at £24.99 each. These glazed pots are perfect for showcasing your hydrangeas and adding a splash of colour to your patio or garden.

Hydrangeas at Hilltop Garden Centre Essex

Plant Perovskia Atriplicifolia

July is an excellent month to plant Perovskia Atriplicifolia, commonly known as Russian Sage. This handsome perennial shrub is known for reaching its peak towards the end of summer and into early autumn. Perovskia is a strong and sturdy variety, resistant to drought, and incredibly hardy. It can thrive in partial shade but performs best in full sun, making it an ideal choice for sunny garden spots.

Planting Perovskia Atriplicifolia in July ensures it has enough time to establish itself before displaying its beautiful lavender-blue flowers. These flowers not only add a splash of colour but also attract pollinators, contributing to a healthy garden ecosystem. Whether you're enhancing your garden borders or filling in a sunny spot, Perovskia is a reliable and attractive choice.

Perovskia Atriplicifolia at Hilltop

Plant Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer'

For anyone looking to add a touch of exotic elegance to their garden, consider planting Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer'. This more unusual variety of the Peruvian Lily features gorgeous flowers in shades of yellow, orange, and red, adorned with brown flecked markings. Its striking dark green to dark purple foliage complements the vibrant flowers beautifully.

Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer' is ideal for garden borders and patio pots, and its blooms make excellent cut flowers for indoor arrangements. Planting them in July ensures that you’ll enjoy their long-lasting summer flowers. These hardy perennials come back year after year, providing continuous colour and beauty with minimal effort.

Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer' at Hilltop Garden Centre Clacton

General Garden Maintenance

July is a busy month for garden maintenance. Keep an eye on watering, especially during dry spells. Early morning or late evening is the best time to water plants to minimise evaporation and ensure the water reaches the roots. Mulching your garden beds helps retain moisture and suppress weeds, giving your plants the best chance to thrive.

Deadheading spent flowers encourages further blooms and keeps your garden looking neat. This is particularly important for annuals and perennials like roses and dahlias. Regularly check for pests and diseases, and take action promptly to prevent them from spreading. A healthy garden is a happy garden, and a little maintenance goes a long way.

Gardening tips from Hilltop Garden Centre in Clacton

Vegetable Garden Tips

July is also a crucial month for your vegetable garden. Harvest crops such as lettuce, radishes, and early potatoes. Sow quick-growing salad crops to ensure a continuous supply throughout the summer. Pinch out the side shoots of tomato plants to promote better fruiting and support taller plants with stakes or cages.

Keep an eye on the watering, especially for container-grown vegetables. Feeding your plants with a balanced fertiliser like Tomorite (available at Hilltop) will boost growth and productivity. If you haven’t already, consider planting herbs like basil, parsley, and coriander (all available at Hilltop) which thrive in the warm summer weather and add fresh flavours to your meals.

Gardening tips from Hilltop Garden Centre in Clacton

Plant Salvia Hot Lips this Month

Salvia 'Hot Lips' is an excellent choice for both seasoned and novice gardeners. This stunning plant, with its distinctive red and white bi-coloured flowers, adds a splash of colour to any outdoor space. Incorporating Salvia 'Hot Lips' into your planting scheme offers numerous benefits for your garden: It attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies, supporting your garden's ecosystem, and it’s a drought-tolerant plant making it resilient, especially during hot summer months.

  • How to plant it - When planting Salvia 'Hot Lips', start by choosing a sunny spot in your garden as it thrives in full sun. Dig a hole twice the width of the plant’s root ball and mix in Hilltop's Rocket Gro Multi-Purpose Organic Compost. This compost is rich in nutrients and improves soil structure, ensuring your Salvia gets the best start possible.
  • Where to plant it - Salvia 'Hot Lips' is versatile and can be planted in garden beds, borders, or containers. It works well as a striking focal point in mixed borders or as a colourful addition to a herbaceous perennial garden. For container planting, ensure the pot has good drainage and fill it with a mix of garden soil and Rocket Gro organic compost.
  • How to look after it - Caring for Salvia 'Hot Lips' is straightforward. Water it regularly until established, then reduce the frequency as it becomes more drought-tolerant. Prune lightly after flowering to encourage more blooms and maintain a neat shape. Mulching around the base with organic matter helps retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Using Hilltop's Rocket Gro organic compost not only provides essential nutrients but also promotes healthy root growth and improves soil fertility. This means your Salvia 'Hot Lips' will be robust, vibrant, and long-lasting, bringing beauty and ecological benefits to your garden for years to come.

Salvia Hot Lips at Hilltop Garden Centre Clacton

Add Shade to Your Outdoor Dining Space

Gardening in July can be a hot and sunny affair, so it’s important to have a shaded area to relax and enjoy a cool drink. At Hilltop Garden Centre, we have a fantastic range of outdoor cantilever parasols. These parasols offer UPF50+ certified protection, a shower-proof 3m round canopy, 360-degree rotation for continuous shade, and a tilt feature to adjust as the sun moves throughout the day.

Creating a shaded outdoor dining space not only allows you to take a break from gardening but also enhances your enjoyment of the garden. Imagine sitting under a stylish parasol, sipping a refreshing drink, and admiring your hard work. These parasols are perfect for family gatherings, garden parties, or simply relaxing with a good book during a break from gardening.

Pacific Cantilever Parasol at Hilltop Garden Centre Clacton

Visit Hilltop Garden Centre Clacton

We hope these tips help you make the most of your garden this July. At Hilltop Garden Centre Clacton, we’re always here to support you with expert advice, quality plants, and everything you need for a beautiful garden. Don’t forget to take advantage of our special offer on Penstemons this month - 3 for £12 - and pop in to see our new plant ranges including gorgeous hydrangeas, Perovskia Atriplicifolia, and Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer'.

Whether you’re visiting for gardening supplies, enjoying a meal at our restaurant cafe, or simply browsing our latest arrivals, Hilltop Garden Centre in Clacton on Sea is your one-stop shop for all things gardening. We’re proud to be part of the Essex community and look forward to helping you create a garden you’ll love. Happy gardening from all of us at Hilltop Garden Centre!

Mon - Sat: 9am to 5pm
Sun: 10am to 4pm
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