The coming weeks will see all sports fans avidly tuned into the Olympics and the athletes that have spent years training for this all important world event. By contrast, our garden birds have come to the end of what has been a period of furious activity. Having nested, fed and reared their offspring, July is a time they can start to rest after the breeding season marathon.
While the adult birds recover from the rigours of the breeding season, their youngsters will be in a far more athletic mood – hopping, jumping and honing their flying skills. You may find a fledgling or two that looks a little helpless, but as much as it is tempting, don’t give them a helping hand. They are learning valuable survival lessons which will stand them in good stead for the future.
During July, flower borders are a riot of colour attractive to us and to bees, butterflies and other flying insects. One special visitor to look out for is the hummingbird hawk moth - July is a great month for spotting these fantastic, little creatures.
What to do in the garden in July? Very little really! It’s a great month for relaxing and enjoying the fruits of your labour – sometimes quite literally if you’ve been growing strawberries. They will be abundant now and remember, some of your garden wildlife will also appreciate your summer crop. Toss those that are a bit soft or bruised under some nearby shrubbery and they’ll be gratefully received by blackbirds or a night-strolling hedgehog. If you feel you haven’t enough room for strawberries, think again, they can be grown in towers and hanging baskets so even with little space you can enjoy the fruits of summer.
For those of us who get prickly heat sitting in the sun, or twitchy fingers if they are attached to idle hands, then July is a good time for a spot of dead heading. Brutal as this sounds most plants welcome it and will reward your labours by producing even more lovely blooms. If the dead flowers contain insects then give them time to escape before adding them to your compost heap.
With the school holidays starting this month, many of you will be looking for interesting (and cheap) things to do with the family. The RSPB runs a number of Dates with Nature throughout the summer. These free events allow you to watch peregrine falcons in cities like Lincoln, London and Manchester, red deer at Leighton moss in Lancashire, and lots of other wildlife in other locations across the UK – check them out at RSPB