July Garden Activities

wooly sunflower in bloom, oregon sunshine, Victoria BC garden
photo by SVSeekins

The spring spectacle is over & the garden is doing its thing. This is the time of year that we fantasized about:
Swinging in the hammock…
reading a book…
Isn’t this why we create those restful places in the garden?


Seed Saving

  • After the flowers finish up, the plant sets seed. Before the pods open I like to pick & distribute them into areas where I’d like to see more next year
    eg. foxglove… snapdragon… lupin… delphinium…


goldenrod & shasta daisy, garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins
  • add compost or sea soil to areas of heavy feeding



  • It’s tempting to buy new plants at this time of year. I try to keep in mind that all new plants, even drought tolerant ones, need watering during the first couple seasons. Their roots haven’t reached deep into the soil where the moisture stays, so they need surface water every couple of days.
    Do I really need that new shrub?
    Or would I rather go camping?


bottlebrush blooms in july Victoria BC arden
photo by SVSeekins
  • Any rain this month is barely enough to settle the dust. Water slowly and deeply in the early morning or evening when the air is cool and calm.
  • Baskets & pots dry out quickly. They can benefit from a drink every day.
  • A good top-dressing of mulch sure helps keep the moisture in the soil where plants can get it, rather than having all that water evaporate in the sunshine.


hens and chicks and roosters in bloom in july garden Victoria BC
photo by E C Jewsbury
  • Dead-heading spent blooms can spur plants into another flush of flowers.
    eg. hardy geraniums…  coreopsis… dahlias…
  • Wander through the beds pulling the weeds… try not to turn over the soil too much, as that just brings seeds closer to the surface to germinate & make more weeds…


yellow loosestrife, dianthus, lychnis, garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins
  • Dahlias & delphinium may require staking (gladiola too)


  • If you water the lawn 1 inch of water every two weeks, it’ll still turn the color of straw in the heat of summer but will bounce back super quickly after temperatures cool in fall.
  • C brings out the mower just to whack off the heads of those persistent dandelion. Keeping the mower blade above 2 inches will give the grass’ roots a little shade so they don’t dry out so quickly

Veg & Berry Patch

July blueberry picking garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins
  • Enjoy all the activity & pay off … harvest time for raspberries & blueberries … corn… beans… salad greens… beets…. cabbage… kale… garlic…
  • If there’s a partly shady spot in your garden, a new round of peas might supply some spring perk in the heat of summer… consider new rounds of greens & beets, too …
  • Ever-bearing strawberries – pinch off runners so the plant concentrates on fruit instead of expansion
  • Yup, it’s time to baby the winter veg… they do their growing now & survive through the cloudy, cold & wet wintry months… kale… parsnips… broccoli…

Seasonal Color

Crocosmia Lucifer July garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins

trees: Linden tree
shrubs: bottlebrush… hydrangea… roses… summer heather… lavender… hardy fuchsia… penstemon… butterfly bush…  lavatera… snowberry (flowers then berries)… Oregon grape (berries)… ocean spray… hardhack…
perennials: calla lily… wooly sunflower… golden rod… erysium (wall flower)… yarrow… coreopsis… phlox… spiderwort… shasta daisy… valerian… astilbe… hens & chicks… hickory… Japanese anemone… foxtail lily… day lily… St.John’s Wort… campanula… brodea… Jacob’s ladder… hosta… begonias… dahlias… salvia… lychnis… fireweed… yellow loosestrife…

ferns: sword… giant chain… deer…
bulbs: crocosmia… gladiola…

Planning & Events

lady's mantle in july garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins
  • The Teeny Tiny Garden Tour is a fundraiser for Victoria Hospice… usually the first Sunday in July
  • Saturday, July 12th, 9:30 – 4:30, Water Garden Tour, For the Love of Africa Water Society, Various locations. For info call 250-891-0762
  • Music on the Lawn –enjoy the Government House gardens while listening to an evening of live music (Usually thursday evenings in July)

© SVSeekins, 2014

Happy Valley Lavender Cake

Visiting Happy Valley Lavender Farm in July is delightful.  Host Lynda Dowling is a whimsical force straight out of fairy tales.

Happy Valley Lavender Farm field  Victoria garden
photo by SVSeekins

Q: What can highlight a pot luck supper on a warm evening?
A:  Lynda’s Lavender Hummingbird Cake.

AND she shared the secret recipe with us!!!   🙂

Lavender Hummingbird Cake 2014

2 ripe bananas
1/2 c. fresh pineapple (or drained)
1/2 c. shredded coconut
110 ml. tin of passionfruit pulp (available at Fairway Market in WestShore Mall)
2 Tbsp fresh lavender (or dried)
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
3/4 c. oil
2 eggs

Happy Valley Lavender Farm field Victoria garden
photo by SVSeekins


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  • Grease an 11 x 8 baking dish.
  • In a food processor, whiz together bananas & pineapple.  Briefly blend in oil, sugar, lavender & eggs until smooth.
  • In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, coconut & spices.  Add wet mixture + passionfruit pulp to the dry ingredients.  Batter will be loose.  Add a few tsp. of flour if you think it is too runny.
  • Baking time is 45 – 55 minutes.  Test centre.  If using 2 8 inch square pans, shorten baking time.
  • When cooled, ice with a simple glaze made with icing sugar, a touch of butter, milk & extra coconut…. or make a cream cheese icing with 125 g. cream cheese, 185 g. icing sugar, 60 g. butter, and 2-3 Tbsp. real rum. (How tropical do you need?)   🙂
Happy Valley Lavender Farm field in July
photo by SVSeekins

Thank you Lynda for your not-so-secret secret recipe!

© SVSeekins, 2014