Marbled white butterfly individual perched on sweet pea

July gardening tips

This is the time of year to enjoy the colours and scents of your garden. At dusk you may notice moths visiting honeysuckle and other scented flowers.

In your garden

As evening begins to fall, yet more perfume is produced by annuals, such as nicotiana, night-scented stocks and evening primroses. You might also spot bats swooping over scented flowers, snapping up insects.

Competition for food among birds can be intense, with so many young fledglings on the scene. It's good to keep feeders topped up if you go away for any length of time - you could ask a neighbour to take over.

What to plant in July

Even if you haven't got a garden, it's possible to grow plants in pots on a sunny balcony or patio. Try petunias, convolvulus, phacelia, or pot marigolds, and dead-head them regularly to encourage fresh flowering. You can also grow herbs such as thyme and marjoram. However, you'll need to water all pot plants regularly in the summer - daily if it doesn't rain.

Climate change could bring hotter and drier summers. Mediterranean plants, which often have grey leaves, are good at withstanding summer drought. Try lavender, artemisia, cistus, helianthemum (rock rose), rosemary, Spanish broom, salvias, lambs ears, catmint and aubrietia.

 Gardenroom doorway and herbacous borders, Norfolk

The benefits of water

Water is a precious resource, so consider carefully whether you need to water your lawn and borders. Collect rainwater in a butt.

If your lawn looks brown, it will recover once it rains. You can try letting the grass grow a bit longer. If you have a patch that tends to go brown regularly, consider creating a gravel garden in this area. Applying mulch to borders when the ground is wet after rain will help retain moisture.