High Summer in the Garden 2020
Tuesday, 25 August 2020 | Alison
It’s been a funny old year so far, hasn’t it, and I don’t mean funny ha-ha.
2020 will certainly be a year we shall all long remember for so many reasons. Covid-19 has brought upheaval to the whole world with uncertainty, sadness, changes in the workplace and adjustments to family dynamics.
Alongside this there have been better times too - the kindness of neighbours, now friends, the fortitude of our NHS workers and opportunities for thinking outside the box, whether it be workwise or the sanctuary and safety of our gardens.
One constant, however, is that time does not ever stand still and high summer has arrived within what seems like a blink of an eye and with it all the delights and disasters of our gardening and planting endeavours so here are a few jobs you can be doing in your garden this summer: -
Deadheading is a chore for some and a relaxing occupation for others. I am in the camp that loves it, as I can take my time meandering around the garden with a mug of Earl Grey, a pair of secateurs and small trug, collecting all the trimmings to go onto the compost heap. Roses, sweet peas, penstemon, everlasting sweet peas, leucanthemums and other daisy type flowers, buddleia and dahlias will all benefit from having the spent blooms removed to encourage more flowers.
Hydrangeas have, in recent years, come back into fashion, thanks to the modern varieties available and if you haven’t got a hydrangea, its maybe time to get one or two. They are marvellous in large pots to have as statement plants and will also thrive in the border in a partly shady/partly sunny spot. The colour range goes from pure white to cream, through to pale pink, burgundy, mauve and blue. Garden centres and nurseries will have plenty in full bloom now so its an ideal time to select the one for you.
Lavender flowers and stems can be trimmed over now as the blooms fade. Using garden shears also take off about 1” or so of the leaf growth. This will tidy up the whole shape of the plant without cutting into old woody growth and encourage a bushier plant.
Annuals in hanging baskets and containers need to be watered every day, even if it is raining. Quite often they are placed just under the eaves of the roof so will never get enough water. Feed weekly too and deadhead regularly. If trailing plants are looking straggly, chop them off to shape. It will make all the difference and a little maintenance will ensure your displays look good for the rest of the season.
This year, I have grown some vegetables, after a gap of a few years. In early April I cleared a patch of ground and now have runner beans, carrots, aubergine, perpetual spinach, swiss chard, courgettes, spring onions, sweetcorn, potatoes and outdoor tomatoes growing really well. It has been so rewarding watching my veg patch grow from either seed or plug plants and tending to the plants as they mature, tying a bit in here and trimming a bit back there. Many of you have been doing the same this year, having more time at home, and I know that I will definitely be growing my own vegetables again next year. I bet you will be too.
Usually August is peak holiday season, but many of us have chosen a stay-cation or a few days away in and around the UK. If you are away for a few days or more and know that basket and container plants need watering and there is not a neighbour available to help, it is a good idea to group pots together in a shady area of the garden. They will shade each other too and if you can, place them in shallow trays of water. Cone shaped hanging baskets can be placed in a bucket of water on the ground under a bush or shadier part of the garden. They will be rather soggy upon your return but will be alive!
I am off down the garden now (with my sou’wester and wellies on today) to gather a few runner beans, spinach and tomatoes for supper.
Have fun and enjoy your garden!
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