The Gardener's Journal is a free monthly gardening guide delivered direct to your inbox.

Each month, receive tips on the top jobs needed in your garden as well as a wealth of information on a range of gardening topics. From sowing seeds to picking fruit, each month get access to information on the care and maintenance of your flowerbeds, vegetable plot and lawn. As with your own gardening diary, the journal is split into separate sections, each covering a different area of garden care.

Monday, 4 August 2014

The Vegetable Plot – August

The plot thickens

August is the last chance to grow salads but sowings and seedlings will need shade from the sun and heat. Grow Little Gem and Tom Thumb lettuces, radishes and mustard and cress.

Endives can be blanched by covering them with inverted flower pots. Second - early potatoes such as Maris Piper and Wilja should be ready but lift them only as you require them. Early beetroot should also be lifted before they get too big.

Lawn Care Guide – August

To water or not to water

We all like to see a well kept and green lawn through the summer months, our green oasis between herbaceous borders. The heat of summer and lack of rainfall can mean the grass drying out and becoming dormant. How often should you water it? There are other factors that combine to cause the grass to become dormant until more rain falls.

If you have maintained a regime of spiking, aerating and fertilising the lawn it should be more tolerant of dry conditions than grass just left to fend for itself. Wind is another cause of the grass drying out. Drought conditions and hosepipe bans may preclude watering altogether but assuming you can water, it’s the grass itself that indicates when it needs moisture, it can look a little dull and is not so springy underfoot.

This Month in your Garden – August

Relax, admire your work

August is the hot month, not just in weather terms but also in the colourful display you can enjoy with phlox, alstromerias (Peruvian lily or lily of the Incas), helianthus (sunflowers), kniphofias (red hot pokers), heleniums and rudbeckias and bedding plants like pelargoniums, marigolds and salvias.

Now you might want to cool down with the contrasting greys and silvers of stachys or ‘lambs ears’, Senecio, lavender, sage and variegated ivy. Dry, hot areas of the garden can also be a good home for succulents such as echeveria and mesembyanthemums.

This Month's Top Tip – August

Q. Something is attacking my dahlias, the leaves are being eaten. Could it be slugs or snails, and what can I do?

The Big Glut Recipe – August

Summer salmon platter with sauce verte

Are friends coming round and you want something refreshingly different, or you’re just bored with barbecues? This can be done with a whole salmon for a summer lunch or supper. Or you can adapt it to a couple of salmon fillets cooked in minutes. The list is not as daunting as it looks.


  • 1 whole salmon about 4kg/8lb gutted and cleaned 
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley plus some reserved
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped thyme
  • 4 tbsp dry white wine
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Slices of hard boiled eggs, tomatoes and cucumbers
  • Torn lettuce leaves
  • Olives