August Gardener's Diary
August is usually the warmest month of the year and your summer bedding should be flourishing, so take time out from gardening to enjoy the colours and scent in your garden.
Watering - All plants will need your attention to survive through any dry spell, baskets, pots, borders and even lawns will need watering. Where possible use recycled water and place saucers under all pots and containers to catch excess water. Ensure you keep on top of the task as once things dry out it is very difficult to get them to retain water as well as they previously did, so little and often is better than leaving it until they keel over. Keep rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias well watered to ensure good flower bud formation, water hydrangeas with colourant for guaranteed blue flowers next year. Liquid feed all bedding plants, peppers and cucumbers to encourage new flowers. Switch to a high potassium feed for tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers this will help the fruits to set meaning higher yields. Tomatoes need consistent watering to avoid them picking up the dreaded blossom end rot.
Garden Maintenance - Perennial weeds are best
treated in active growth so choose the correct weedkiller and apply to the weed’s foliage, it will kill them off at the root meaning no regrowth. Hoe out annual weeds as they will take valuable moisture from the soil and multiply rapidly if you let them flower. Grass tends to grow less during the very warm weather so when you do mow cut on a high blade, don’t worry too much about grass browning it will usually recover when rain appears. Watch plants such as phlox, chrysanthemums, nicotiana and roses for any signs of mildew or rust and treat immediately if affected. Trim your box plants back into shape in the evening once the sun has gone down to avoid the leaf edge burning.
Wild Bird Care - Please make sure that a supply of fresh drinking water is available and when feeding, use a seed mix, nyger seed, sunflower hearts and mealworms rather than high-fat content suet balls or peanuts during the summer months.
Pruning and Dead Heading - Keep all of your bedding plants deadheaded, encouraging more new flowers to form quickly, so well worth the effort. Remove tired leaves from hardy geraniums to encourage a new flush of growth.
Deadhead dahlias, removing smaller flowers if you are growing for larger blooms. Prune back old rosemary and lavender flowers and remove any flowers that form on herb plants you are using for culinary use.
Fruit and Vegetables - Lift and pot strawberry runners and cut out any old fruited raspberry canes. The vegetable garden will be full of produce to pick now, pick regularly and don’t let anything bolt, harvest courgettes whilst reasonably small to stop them maturing into marrows and freeze excess produce including beans, spinach and herbs. We have a new range of pest deterrents called Grazers, these are applied onto the plant’s foliage and the bitter taste stops slugs, snails, and others eating the leaf, we have had encouraging feedback from customers already. Ventilate your greenhouse and apply shade if it is situated in full sun, damp down greenhouse floors on hot days to maintain humidity levels but do not do this in the evening as it encourages pests and disease particularly on tomatoes.
Plants looking good this month:
Many herbaceous perennials are coming into colour this month and will continue
flowering well into autumn. Suggestions would be, dwarf chrysanthemums, crocosmia, rudbeckia, gaillardia, salvia, aster, phlox, sedum, and verbena. Patio roses have an abundance of smaller flowers above the dark green foliage, they are ideal for planting into decorative pots and placing on a sunny patio.
Monthly suggestion; After visiting the Garden Centre why not treat your children or grandchildren to playtime in our free undercover sandpit, you can also enjoy refreshments from our café at the same time or indulge in a refreshing ice cream.
2018, Your Letterbox