Your Garden in August
YOUR GARDEN IN AUGUST
A little bit of effort now will keep your garden looking gorgeous into the autumn
We've certainly enjoyed some prolonged periods of lovely weather so far this year, so let's hope August brings us more of the same.
If the weather is dry, the most important thing is to keep on top of watering, particularly containers and any new plantings.
Even established plants need a helping hand in very dry weather; Camellias and Rhododendrons will appreciate being kept well-watered during dry spells as this helps ensure that next year's buds develop well. Feed containers with a liquid fertiliser once a fortnight too.
Your garden should be alive with late summer perennials and there are a few small tasks to undertake to keep your borders looking their best. If Dahlias, Lilies or late flowering perennials have a grown too tall or top-heavy, they should be staked to prevent them being flattened by a sudden downpour or gust of wind. Place four stout canes around the clump, then tie twine tightly around the canes, enclosing all the stems within.
Faded perennials should be cut back, and you should continue your dead-heading regime, with both bedding plants and perennial plants, to encourage further blooms into autumn. If you have large clumps of bearded iris, these will benefit from being lifted and divided. Gently ease them out with a fork and divide up the outer sections of the plant with a knife, discarding the tired central section. Cut straight across the leaves, 15cm from the roots, and replant the smaller clumps.
Large flowered Clematis should be looking at their best now but keep a look out for any symptoms of Clematis wilt. If you notice wilting leaves, and black discolouration on the leaves and stem, then your plant may have succumbed. Cut out any infected plant material and dispose of it in your household waste. Avoid problems with new Clematis plants by planting them deeply, ideally 10cm below the level they were in the pot.
If you're lucky enough to have a Wisteria in your garden, you'll want to do all you can to keep it producing its magnificent flowers. That means pruning it twice a year, and now is the time for its summer prune. Once your Wisteria has finished flowering, use sharp secateurs to cut back this season's whippy green shoots to five or six leaves from the main stem, producing shorter flowering spurs which will hopefully result in more flowers next year. Whilst doing this, tie in stems to fill any gaps in your wall or trellis.
Prune summer flowering shrubs once they've finished blooming, and trim Lavender plants of spent flower heads to keep them compact. If you see small gaps in your borders, you could plant some Colchicums. Known as autumn crocus, these bulbs will add delicate splashes of colour to your garden during September and October.
My feature plant for August is Echinacea, with its colourful, drooping daisy-like flowers on tall stems above clump-forming foliage. Beautiful in a border, they're also excellent for attracting butterflies to your garden.
AUGUST ON THE VEG PLOT
Whether you have an allotment, a veggie patch in your garden or just a few containers for growing your own, Ruth McNamee from our Plant Area can guide you through the edible gardening year.
Pinch the tops off your tomato plants when five flower trusses have formed. The plant will then put its energy into producing and ripening fruit before the cooler weather comes.
Watch out this month for your local allotment open days. It's great fun to visit these sites where you can pick up useful tips from the growers there and see what grows well in your area. They may have fresh veg and preserves for sale to swell their funds and you could even add your name to the waiting list for your own plot.
Sow Swiss chard and perpetual spinach this month. You should get a few pickings before the worst weather hits, but the plants stand all winter and put on masses of welcome new growth in the spring. Such useful crops to be used all year round.
Sow some spring onions, try a winter hardy variety, which will stand until spring and provide a welcome crop during winter.
Despite all this talk of the cooler weather, do enjoy the summer, and keep on top of watering, weeding, harvesting and eating your delicious crops.
https://www.bartongrange.co.uk/plants-and-gardening/gardening-advice/ Thanks to WILL