blog post - your garden in august
I’m sure I read somewhere that August is supposed to be a summer month. Funny, it feels like
November to me! Perhaps in other more exotic gardens, watering is high on the top of the to do
list at the moment but luckily for us mother nature has that covered currently! But there are plenty
of other things to be getting on with when a spot of dry weather presents itself.
With everything still actively growing at this time of year, the biggest jobs seem to be weeding and
deadheading. Removing spent flowers will encourage plants to put their remaining energy into
the production of more flowers instead of seed and the up side to all this rain is that pulling out
weeds is much easier when the soil is wet.
Perennials such as Geraniums and Alchemilla (lady’s mantle) will benefit from the chop right about
now. Cut them back to ground level and you should get a second flush of foliage. Much tidier
than their current straggly, browning state. Lavender is coming to the end of its flowering soon so
to prevent it from becoming leggy, chop off all the spent flowers and any few remaining ones
along with an inch of the foliage. If you're seeing more woody brown stems than silvery green
foliage there is only one place for it - the compost heap!
Dig out your secateurs and get 'em sharpened, there’s pruning to be done if you have a rambling
rose or wisteria in your garden. Wisteria gets a summer prune in July/August to reign it in and
keep it out of the gutters and windows. Cut back the long whippy shoots to 5-6 leaves from the
main stem. These are the same shoots you’ll shorten further in the winter but for now that's
enough. A rambling rose differs from a climbing rose in that the former will usually only flower
once (around June) while the latter will repeat flower until the first frost. If you don't carry out
regular pruning after flowering, you'll be left with an unruly tangle of stems and fewer flowers than
you would get when pruning correctly. Mature ramblers will need to be thinned out each year.
Remove the oldest, flowered stems cutting them right back to the base. Tie in any fresh new
vigorous stems to take their place and shorten the side shoots by about two thirds, cutting back
to a healthy, outward facing bud.
Fruit trees that are particularly heavy croppers such as Victoria Plums may need support to stop
the branches from snapping under the weight of all of that sweet, juicy fruit. Cordons and
restricted varieties should be firmly tied in to strong stakes and free standing bushes may need to
have their branches supported by cleft sticks to support their weight temporarily. Throw a net
over those ripening autumn fruiting raspberries while you’re at it to stop the little winged thieves
stealing your harvest!
In the greenhouse, keep watering and feeding tomatoes regularly as irregular watering can cause
the fruit to split. Keep an eye out for blossom end rot too (another possible side effect of irregular
watering and a lack of calcium). You can identify it from a brown/black spot on the fruit that will
grow in size before becoming sunken and flat. Not pretty!
Autumn is just around the corner so start thinking about ordering spring flowering bulbs for
planting in September/October. All the good ones go quickly so why are you still sitting here
reading this? Get ordering!