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Wednesday 1 August 2018

This Month in Your Garden – August

"Summer's lease hath all too short a date." – William Shakespeare

We British complain. It’s too cold, too wet, too dry, too hot. Certainly the latter has applied on the hottest days of this summer’s heat wave as far as carrying out any but the simplest of garden tasks.

Even ambling around the garden with a pair of secateurs and deadheading roses, to bring on a second flush of blooms, has encouraged retreat beneath the parasol and a grasp for a cool drink. Hopefully all the good work you put into the garden in earlier months has come to fruition with bold, colourful displays in borders.

The hot colours of the heleniums, rudbeckias and kniphofias meet the loud yellows of sunflowers and cooling shades of grey stachys, Senecio and lavender. Now there are some cooler days, catch up on pruning Wisteria, collect seeds from garden plants, harvest vegetables such as sweetcorn and, towards the end of the month, you can sow hardy annuals directly into borders where they will overwinter and flower next year.

Cut back herbaceous plants that have flowered, nipping off the foliage and stems. Give the soil a feed if you can with green manure and keep watering. Use grey recycled water or rainwater from the butt you placed by the shed or greenhouse earlier in the year.

Don’t forget the hanging baskets and keep ponds topped up – it’s surprising how quickly the level can drop in the heat wave. Above all, enjoy summer’s lease in the garden, it’s not here for long.  

  • Plant out marigolds, Calendula (pot marigolds), salvias and pelargoniums for more colour
  • Make sure the greenhouse is well ventilated
  • Take cuttings of zonal and ivy-leaved pelargoniums and root them in pots of sandy compost
  • Sow Brompton stocks in John Innes seed compost to flower next spring
  • Pot up freesia corms
  • Lightly prune hydrangeas that have flowered
  • Deadhead annuals, roses, Dahlias, Penstemions and tender perennials to prolong flowering 
  • Plant succulents such as echeveria and mesembryanthemums in dry, hot areas of the garden    

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