July is... opening every window in the house and still feeling hot, relishing the smell of freshly-mown grass, an ice lolly a day, flashes of brightly coloured butterflies, and a houses full of flies.

Did you know? The days from the 3rd to the 11th of July are known as 'dog days', originating from the Roman belief that Sirius (the Dog Star) gave greater heat to the sun at this time of year as it was so bright in the night sky. It's actually to do with the tilt of the Earth which gives us these hotter days of summer.

Dates for your diary: 15th July is St Swithin's Day and according to legend if it rains on this day, it will continue to do so for 40 more days. The proverb 'He who eats oysters on St James' Day will not want for money' refers to the 25th of July, so get yourself to the seaside and indulge in fresh shells.

July in words:

Blue July, bright July,
Month of storms and gorgeous blue;
Violet lightnings o'er thy sky,
Heavy falls of drenching dew.

George Meredith, from 'July'

Things to do at home and in the garden:

  • If it's hot, not a lot! This month enjoy the outdoor space you have and try to eat alfresco whenever possible. Throw a linen tablecloth over a table, light a few candles and enjoy salads and barbeques in the summer air.
  • Keep on top of dead-heading flowers to make sure they continue to bloom.
  • Make your own ice lollies to save money and to make sure you always have something cooling when you return home. My favourites contain just one ingredient: fresh orange juice. 

Be creative:

Flower pressing isn't just for young girls - it's a simple way to preserve beautiful blooms.