August in your garden
Wednesday, 2 August 2017 | Alison
I know its high summer and I don’t wish to appear gloomy, but…. August can sometimes be a rather lost affair when it comes to gardening. I say that because with parents and grandparents juggling work, children, grand-children duties, school holidays and life in general, it can leave little time to enjoy the simple pleasures of pottering in the garden. Looking after children (and pals) during the ‘summer holidays’, planning days out to keep said children (and pals) amused and of course the annual family holiday can all contrive to take you away from your beloved garden or allotment.
So, if you are contemplating all or any of the above then here are a few easy and family fun ‘jobs’ to do in the garden or allotment this month and best of all you can involve kids, grannies, grandads, mums and dads too.
Brookside Nursery’s Top Ten Tips for August
*Harvesting home grown crops can be a fun family event. Peas, runner beans and broad beans can be picked regularly, and, if you have any excess crops that make it back to the kitchen before being eaten, they can be frozen to use later in the year. Home-grown runner beans for Christmas Day lunch – what a treat. Click here to see our latest range of vegetable seeds.
*Some soft fruits like gooseberries, strawberries and raspberries will be ready to harvest too. Making a gooseberry crumble or pie with your own produce always tastes better than shop-bought. There is probably a fruit farm near you and they are a great way to while away an hour or two picking fruits.
*Deadheading faded flowers can be most therapeutic I find, and if you have the right implement and don’t snip off the wrong bit. A small pair of scissors for annuals such as Petunias and Surfinias and secateurs for roses and larger perennials is ideal for these jobs. There is a quiet joy to be had removing spent flower heads in anticipation of more to come. Deadheading of hanging basket and bedding plants is essential to maintain a stunning floral display for the rest of the summer.
*Feed hanging baskets and tubs once a week with a liquid feed like Neudorff organic multi purpose plant feed or Tomorite to encourage more flowering. This will maintain healthy plants and boost the longevity of your plants, and water every day, even if it has been raining during the day or night. Hanging baskets, especially mossed ones, are susceptible to drying out quickly. It may be worth looking at replacing them with the Easy-fill Plantopia range of baskets that have a water reservoir at the base. Made of sturdy heavy-duty plastic they will last for many seasons and there is less chance of them drying out if you miss a watering session.
*A nice little task to do with children is planting up strawberry runners. If you have a main strawberry plant then the chances are it is sending out small runners, tiny new plants, and these can be potted into 10cms pot filled with fresh compost. Leave the runner bit on until the plantlet grows, then you know it has rooted and the plants can be cut free. Once they have grown and filled the pot, they can be planted into a new spot to produce fruit next summer.
*If you have a wildlife pond, like me, ensure that you scoop up any blanket weed with a small net or tea strainer (old). Leave the bits by the edge of the pond so that pond dwellers can find their way back. I keep scooping up tadpoles so am vigilant about popping them back in the pond immediately. I need all the help I can get from my frogs who munch on the slugs. Lily leaves can take over so keep them trimmed back removing faded leaves. I realise now that I should have bought a smaller more dainty variety. ***Remember- small children and ponds do not go well together, even if your pond is shallow.
*Agapanthus plants, with their glamourous displays are looking at their best this month. If you have yours in pots then just watering them will be sufficient, whilst in flower. Keep the flower heads on as they make lovely seed heads that look rather dramatic in the morning frosts, which I hope are a long way off. Click here to read more about these delightful plants.
*Lavenders can look rather washed out once the flowers have faded, so take a pair of shears and lightly trim all over the plant leaving around 2” of this seasons growth. Do not cut into old wood. This will reshape your plants and if you have lavenders lining a pathway this will allow access to your walkway once again!
*Plan and order your winter and spring displays. Click here to view our exciting range of spring-flowering bulbs and autumn/winter pansies, violas, primroses, wallflowers and basket and container plants. We have some fabulous new varieties for you to choose from.
*Lastly, if you have a day spare, try and visit a garden or two that has displays of mid-late summer flowering perennials and vegetable gardens that will be at their most productive and looking at their best later this month. I always pick up invaluable ideas for my own garden and vegetable patch, so take a pen and pad and a camera and start planning your garden borders for next summer.
Have fun and enjoy your garden!