As July is coming to a close and many early summer flowers have faded, it can be time to have a tidy up so that the garden doesn't start looking too "over" and brown, but it’s no means the end of summer colour!
White tailed Bumbebee + Brimstone butterfly Kevin Sawford (rspb-images.com): Kevin Sawford (rspb-images.com)
Of course, with any garden tidy up, it's most beneficial to wildlife if some of the cuttings can be left at the back of the border or stored in a tucked away area to provide cover for small invertebrates, reptiles and mammals. Composting also provides shelter for slow worms, grass snakes, toads and hedgehogs so do be very careful when airing / turning the compost. Lifting it up and out with heavy duty gardening gloves is the safest way to protect sheltering wildlife.
Many perennials like hardy geraniums, nepeta and centurea are looking tired and floppy and could benefit from being cut right to the ground with plenty of chance to re-flower again this season. There are many late flowing plants still available in the garden centres to fill a few gaps or add some instant colour right now.
Sturdy, flat-topped Sedums are a magnet for bees and butterflies that flower with tiny starry little pink flowers in late summer, the stunning coneflower Echinacea, is another wildlife favourite in a variety of pinks, purples and whites that is also happy in a pot if well fed and watered plus, the cottage garden favourites: fiery coloured Heleniums and pink, pastel or white Phlox will add a large splash of bright colour to any fading border.
There is more inspiration for late summer colour from Gardeners world online as well as from the RHS's top ten late flowing perennials list.
The RSPB have some wildlife gardening information for August on their website and Gardeners World online have a list of their top Wildlife Gardening jobs for the month ahead.
It may be late July, but it’s not all about seed heads and berries just yet… there’s still weeks of nectar rich summer colour and garden wildlife to enjoy.
The Flatford Wildlife Garden currently remains closed but re-opening details will be posted in advance on this blog and the main Flatford Garden webpage. The Flatford team continue to encourage wildlife through their own gardening projects and very much look forward to sharing wildlife gardening experiences with you when we re-open.
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