But while July is typically one the hottest months on the calendar, the heat inevitably brings storms. These temperamental conditions often leave our garden plants struggling to stay upright and our very best flower bed ideas can be left devastated.  Monty Don to the rescue: in a recent blog post (opens in new tab), horticultural expert urged gardeners to stake the leggiest plants in their borders so that July’s extreme conditions don’t take their toll.  We may know how to plant a cottage garden border – but this is how to protect those tender annuals in particular. Firstly, Monty encourages us to pick up some brushwood, including hazel pea sticks, or metal supports, in preparation for staking. Then, he suggests gently working ‘round the borders to ease the plants upright. This ‘provides the underpinning that they need,’ he says.  Monty reminds us not to reduce the border ’to a stiffly corseted state’ as it will lose the allure of a rich midsummer bounty. ‘Ideally, it should not look as though you have done anything at all,’ Monty adds.  The BBC Gardener’s World presenter recommends staking ’taller growing annuals such as ammi majus, sunflowers, cleome, Cosmos sensation, tithonias, and Leonotis,’ which all grace his treasured garden at Longmeadow. These are Monty Don’s favorite tender annuals – if you’re looking for more advice on these plants and which flowers to choose in future.  ‘As these are planted individually, it is hard to support them in the gently bolstering fashion that suits a large herbaceous perennial, but they can be staked to half their height and tied with soft twine so that they can still move gently but not collapse completely,’ Monty adds.  Armed with Monty’s tips, our borders will continue to look their throughout July and will avoid becoming a ‘disaster zone overnight.’

What is the proper way to stake a plant? 

The proper way to stake a plant, simply push the stake into the ground next to the plant, being careful not to sever the roots of the plant. Ensure the stake isn’t taller than the plant – just over two thirds of the way up the stem is ideal. Tie the plant to the stake around two thirds of the way up.  If a single stake is not enough to support some plants, you can use multiple supports to keep them safely upright.