August Tips and Advice

... August

Dahlia ('Bishop of Llandaff')There is still a lot of summer to be enjoyed and during the day, plenty of bright colours are provided by the late flowering perennials such as Michaelmas Daisy (Aster vars), Dahlias, from the giant-flowered types to the smallest pompon, in almost every colour you can imagine and they continue flowering until the first frost arrives.

The speciosum Lilies together with Crocosmias and the creamy-white Bugbanes (Cimicifuga) will be in full flower, and in the water garden the moisture-loving Ligularia clivorum holds its showy, daisy like brown-centred, orange flowers 3 to 4 ft. high. Do keep the garden display going, pick off the dead flowers and pinch back straggly growths of summer bedding plants. The dead flowers should be collected from bedding Dahlias every week.

CrocosmiaAmongst the shrubs the with yellow and gold flowers of the Rose of Sharon (Hypericum vars) are in full bloom, the variety Hidcote will bring a suggestion of sunshine to quite shady corners of your garden. In a well-drained sunny spot, the Tree Hollyhocks (Hibiscus) add an exotic touch with their brightly colouredflowers. Buddleias too will be in full flower attracting a host of brightly coloured butterflies to feast on the nectar.

For a delicate look try clematis tangutica which produces a profusion of its lantern-like yellow flowers followed by fluffy seed heads, and the late flowering viticella varieties will also be flowering.  Both these plants are good form of ground cover. Simply peg down the vines at intervals allowing some to scramble up and across other plants. One plant will cover quite an area and will give a wonderful display and after flowering just cut it back for the winter.

Unlike bulbs of other Lilies that are dealt with in the autumn, Madonna Lily bulbs are planted now, as are Colchicums, Amaryllis belladonna and other autumn-flowering bulbs.

Pruning

Box-HedgesNow is also the time for Yew, Leyland and other evergreen hedges to be clipped to shape. Those with large leaves like Laurel are best cut with secateurs to save mutilating the foliage.

Your Summer Holiday & Your Garden

August is usually the month when most of us go on holiday and leave our gardens to fend for themselves. A little thought before you go and some tender loving care when you return will be enough to make sure that you can go away without worrying about your hard work gardening going to waste and you really relax on your holiday!

While you are on holiday and your garden is left unattended, many of your plants can actually suffer due to lack of water. Make sure that, before you go, you either arrange to have your containers and baskets watered, or set up a system that can supply water on a regular basis to your tubs and baskets.

French LavenderOn returning from your holiday it will be worth dead-heading the baskets, dead-heading the tubs and generally reviving the garden by this sort of maintenance technique. Dead- heading bedding, roses and other plants will all help to bring the garden back to life again after your absence.

If you are holidaying in this country, why not take a detour to visit Wisley in Surrey, Kew in Richmond, Hampton Court in London, Rosemoor in the West Country or Sissinghurst in Kent all of which have stunning gardens and will give you inspiration whatever space you have.

Lawns

Keep your lawn in tip top condition!If you are interested in propagation, take cuttings from your favourite Summer flowering plants. Much of the material now will be semi-ripe and things like escallonias, cotoneasters, berberis and other evergreens can be propagated at this time. Also, take the opportunity to continue to propagate the tender plants that you need to see through the Winter safely under glass.

Don’t forget to make sure your lawn is kept mown and weeded. Towards the end of August will be a suitable time to start feeding and weeding again and to carry out any aeration before the onset of Autumn. This is a good time to actually do it.

Top Tips

  • DaffodilsFreeze your herbs. For a steady supply of fresh herbs, like parsley, through the winter cut the younger leaves rinse in clean water and after putting them in a plastic bag place in the freezer. There is no need to chop them up simply crush them gently when frozen and use as required.
  • Dead-heading in the herbaceous border, another constant task but at this time of the year an important one to keep the border looking fresh and attractive. There are many flowering plants still to come in the border so dead-heading those that have finished is a good idea.
  • Get out those bulb catalogues, have a look and start deciding which bulbs you would like to order or purchase at the garden centres so that you can start planting in late August / September.  There are many kinds available including daffodils, snowdrops, crocus and tulips which all give you a burst of colour early the following year.

Material courtesy of www.the-hta.org.uk

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