Possibly the least jolly month is July. On frosty mornings like there was earlier today one can feel happy about the garden and the world in general, but July is the month just to get through I feel. When you hit August the days are starting to stretch again and you know Spring is not too far away, but July is the month when all the stock run out of the saved Autumn grass and feeding out is a necessary daily ritual, always a drag, and the days are still short and often wet and cold to boot. I’ve often read that Winter is the time to sit in front of the fire and read books and make plans…Yeah right. Winter is the time to try to get the gardens under control before the Spring flush and Open Days, in between sending orders to people around the country (who may be sitting inside by the fire goddamn them)
But it’s not all doom and gloom. In our temperate climate every season produces colour, Roses being one of the offerers. Whilst some roses lose all their leaves and become bare sticks, others, most especially many of the Teas and Chinas, continue to produce offerings right thru the Winter. Flowers that in Spring would be overlooked , become things of beauty on a miserable July day! The other phenomenon happening for the second year running and due ,I would guess to global warming, but who knows? not me… is the Banksias coming in to flower in June instead of September. Last season they carried on right into November and were flowering along with the Spring flush. 5 months is a pretty good show for a once flowerer!
Other than the ever loving roses ,we can enjoy the winter flowering shrubs, like Camellias, Gordonias, Michaelias and Lucullias. Along with these winter flowerers, the early Spring bulbs are flowering, King Alfreds, jonquils, even some crazy early freesias, so there’s quite a lot of colour in parts of the garden. Lots of the Salvias are still flowering too, in parts of the garden where the pruning shears haven’t penetrated yet! So there you go…maybe July really is jolly!