Green Fingers and Thumbs

Horticulturalist offering gardening classes, creative workshops, floristry and garden consultancy.

July Jobs in the Garden

Lazy days of summer are upon us, but there are still plenty of quick jobs you can do in the garden to keep everything ticking along...

  • Cut back early flowering perennials: Perennial plants that flower early will often put out new leaves and flowers if they are cut back when they start to look a bit straggly.

  • Some examples of this are hardy Geraniums (not Pelargoniums which are tender bedding), Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s Mantle) and Stachys (lambs’ ears).

  • This will keep them flowering and looking good right to the end of the summer and into autumn.

  • You do not need to be overly precise, just cut all old material to the base of the plant and in a few weeks new leaves will start to appear

  • Evergreen cuttings: Try your hand as some easy propagation by taking evergreen cuttings. Evergreen shrubs and climbers can be expensive as they offer so much to a garden. Growing a few of your own can save a few pennies.

  • Take new shoots from evergreen plants that have been produced this year (they will be at the ends of branches)

  • Cut the ‘cutting’ just below a point where leaves come out from the main stem (growth point or ‘node’)

  • Remove the lower leaves from your cutting as this is the part that will be inserted in the compost

  • Use potting compost (you can add some vermiculite or perlite to help with moisture retention and drainage) and fill a small pot making sure to firm the compost down

  • It is a good idea to water the compost before adding the cuttings so that it is moist but not soaking

  • Insert the cutting so that part of the stem is below the surface of the compost. You can have several cuttings in each pot (5/6) spaced out over the surface

  • Keep in a part-sun or shady spot for the rest of the summer, keep an eye on watering so that the compost does not dry out, but also is not so wet that the cuttings rot off

  • Towards the end of the summer you will know if the cuttings have ‘taken’ by giving each one a little tug. If there is resistance – roots will have formed. If the cutting comes straight out it will not have taken and can be added to the compost heap!

  • If they have rooted the pot can be ‘knocked out’ and each individual cutting potted into its own small pot. They can be kept outside over winter in a cold frame or sheltered spot and potted on next spring as they grow bigger

  • Plant Autumn Flowering Bulbs: This is an easy one to miss as there is a lot going on in the garden. Planting autumn flowering bulbs will give you some great late colour in the garden, just as other things might be starting to fade. There will be bulbs in shops/nurseries as well as lots of examples in bulbs catalogues. Here are some to try...

  • Autumn Crocus – just like lovely spring crocus but in autumn

  • Nerines – lovely pink flowered trumpets in November! They do need a sheltered, sunny spot or at the base of a wall

  • Sternbergia lutea – like a bright yellow crocus but with thicker petals

  • Colchicum – also known as ‘Naked Ladies’ as they flower without leaves. In pinks and whites like huge crocus. They can get battered by rain and wind, but look stunning at this time of year planted in turf or in a border

  • Cyclamen hederifolium – easy to grow, just like the spring flowering cyclamen, but pink flowers are out in the autumn. A great one for under evergreen trees

  • Sow Vegetables for Autumn cropping: This always seems an odd task when most edible crops are sown in the early part of the year, but there are lots of fast-growing crops that can be harvested in the autumn and even into early winter. Here are some to try...

  • Beetroot – great for roasting with potatoes, garlic and anchovies

  • Spinach – can be picked young for salads or later for cooking with. If you have a glut, I find that you can freeze it and stir into curries and soups in the winter for some added ‘green’

  • Chard – like spinach in term of use with young and older leaves. It also has great leaf stems that can be used in a stir-fry

  • Turnips – there are some great baby varieties to grow and when young can be used as wedges, in a stir-fry or even pickled for longer storage

Online Garden Sessions available as a recording:

My online beginner gardener sessions are recorded and available for £5.99. If you would like to view any of the sessions below please contact me for the recording:

  • Low Maintenance. High Impact. (1 hour)

  • Gardening for Wildlife (1 hour)

  • Garden Jobs for Autumn (1 hour)

  • Winter Fruit Pruning (1 hour)

  • Winter Plants for the Festive Season (1 hour)

  • Winter Jobs in the Garden (1 hour)

  • Preparation for the Gardening Year (1 hour)

  • Soil... is KEY! (1 hour)

  • Sustainability in Gardening/Plan your own Outdoor Escape (1 hour)

Green Fingers and Thumbs Gardening Community...

Last autumn I offered Spring Flowering Bulb Packs, here are some great pictures of the final results from you Green Fingered Gardeners out there...


"It was like going to see an Apple Genius Bar and coming away not only with your problem solved, but so many other new ideas as well!"

Lucy and Ed, on having an online consultation for a community garden and allotment project.

I really enjoyed your session last night. I am a longtime gardener but find your talks quite inspirational, my garden has improved so much by putting your ideas into practise and I feel far more positive about changing things to suit my needs rather than just maintaining it. Really looking forward to soil!

Jenny, Shropshire, on online gardening classes

"I didn't want a gardener to do my gardening for me but guidance and recommendations as to how I could manage my garden, to answer my questions and develop my gardening experience. I couldn't tell a weed from a seed. I didn't know when to cut, feed or leave. I has been amazing to have found the expert guidance and support Natalie's personal garden consultation provides.

Beth, Ripon, on a face-to-face garden consultation.

"As an absolute beginner, I have found these online gardening sessions so informative and enjoyable. The interactive sessions are led by a professional gardener whose passion is infectious. You are made to feel comfortable to ask any questions at any level to answer your queries. I throughly enjoy the sessions and look forward to the next one!!"

Anne- Marie, Shropshire, on online gardening classes.

"Natalie has been a huge inspiration in my horticultural career, firstly as a mentor during my gardening traineeship and whilst I worked for my qualifications, and then as a colleague. Always enthusiastic and passionate about her field of expertise she is also greatly supportive of those who want to learn and develop their skills, and imparts her vast knowledge at just the right level for whoever she is working with.'

Clare, York, on training and online gardening classes

"I really enjoyed Natalie's online sessions, they were really informative, helpful and fun without being overwhelming. Lots of top tips."

Zoe, Edinburgh, on online gardening classes.

"Natalie's sessions are fun and informative, and there is always a chance to ask questions. She's also brilliant at getting back to you with more information if you need it. I'm a relative beginner but I think more experienced gardeners would love this too."

Chrissie, Portsmouth, on online gardening classes.

"Natalie has given me superb advice to help spruce up my family garden. Her knowledge of suitable plants, plant positioning and care have been invaluable. She is a fountain of knowledge whois extremely enthusiastic about her craft. I loved watching her develop design ideas and see it all come to life. She makes the whole experience inclusive and enjoyable from start to finish."

Caroline, Royal Tunbridge Wells, on face-to-face garden consultation.

"As a noviceI find Natalie's bite-size classes really helpful. The different topics mean that I can find out about particular areas of gardening without being overwhelmed. She is expert in what she does and has a great way of explaining things in a practical way, with just the right measure of technical. Her approach is so helpful, it has really helped me become more confident in gardening and enjoy it.

Helen, Melmerby, on online gardening classes and face-to-face garden consultation.