August Top Tips
Gardens are brimming with colourful blooms that will attract bees and other pollinating insects to our home plots. Dahlias, clematis, buddleias and lavenders should be providing a good show of flowers while runner beans, French beans and autumn raspberries are blooming in profusion. School is out for summer holidays and it’s an ideal time to get children more involved in growing plants in your garden and picking and eating the fruits of your labours.
VEGETABLES AND FRUIT
Children should be encouraged to gather food crops from the garden and be shown different ways that they can be enjoyed at the dining table. Many gardens will have all manner of vegetables ready to gather for the kitchen including potatoes, tomatoes, climbing beans and courgettes.
TOP TIP: Canes of summer raspberries will have finished fruiting and can be cut back to ground level. Tie in the canes along wire supports and dress the surface with well-rotted garden compost to encourage strong rooting.
THE FLOWER GARDEN
If we are blessed with warm summer sunshine this August then watering of annual garden flowers may become necessary, especially for those with a limited root run and a tendency to wilt when water is in short supply. To hold in as much natural rainwater as possible a mulch of Levington Water Saving Decorative Bark spread over the soil will also create an attractive surface that will also reduce the amount of annual weeds that can easily develop.
TOP TIP: Plant up autumn flowering bulbs such as naked ladies (colchicum), nerines and autumn crocus for an unusual finish to the flowering season.
Watering is needed for container grown plants every few days, even if we have substantial rainfall. So get your children involved with a watering can around the patio. It’s never too early to teach them some tricks of correct irrigation. For example, you can fit pot saucers under each container to catch any excess liquid. It’s then a matter of revisiting the saucer ten minutes after initial application to dispose of any water not drawn up by the compost by capillary action. This teaches the lesson of applying the right amount of water and not to waste this precious resource.
TOP TIP: Dead head all annual flowers growing in pots, containers and hanging baskets to prolong their blooming time into autumn
Mowing and edge trimming will remain weekly jobs if your lawn is to continue to look really great for your family and visitors. Remove all trimmings from the surface or people using the area for games, picnics and general romping will be covered in grass cuttings.
If you are not going away you can be sure the weather is likely to be moist and warm – it is school holidays, after all. With weeds still growing strongly this is probably the final month when lawn weedkillers have maximum effect. For great control of most broad-leaved weeds spray the whole lawn with Verdone Extra. It contains three selective weedkillers that do not harm established grass.