“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
– William Shakespeare
The end of July brought some much needed rain to gardens all over the country. June and July’s never-ending sunshine has been wonderful for lounging, reading books and wild swimming but oh the amount of watering needed to just keep plants alive!
Lawn mowers have been mostly idle lately whilst lawns have turned crisp and brown but fear not. Come the autumn rains the brown wasteland will once again become lush and green.
August is the month for cutting armfuls of flowers to brighten the house and for harvesting fruits and veg that you’ve been nurturing in anticipation. Often best eaten fresh a glut of beans, courgettes, tomatoes, etc calls for a dusting off and washing of kilner jars and an afternoon spent in the kitchen pickling and preserving.
Our top ten recommended tasks this month include:
- Continue deadheading all faded blooms. Even if the plants won’t flower again this will save them wasting energy on producing unwanted seed-heads
- Summer prune your wisteria
- Birds will have finished nesting by now so hedges can be tidied up and trimmed
- Prune rambling roses once they’ve finished flowering
- Sweet peas will be coming to an end soon but the more you pick and feed then the longer they’ll keep going
- Parsley and other herbs sown now will mean you have a fresh supply for the winter
- Aubergines will be ready this month. Pick them when they are firm and nice and shiny
- Sow hardy annuals in situ and they’ll bloom early next year
- Hardy geraniums will be looking messy now so cut them back and you’ll get some fresh new growth
- Help tomatoes to ripen by removing any leaves that are shading the fruits from the sun and by regularly feeding. Keep removing side shoots
Our 2018 Bulb Catalogue will be available from early August. Featuring autumn and spring flowering bulbs the catalogue also includes winter bedding, perennials, fruit and veg.
A range of large 9cm potted veg plants will be available for despatch from September onwards meaning you will be harvesting from autumn to early spring.
If you are keen on tulips, then our new scented tulips are not to be missed. Available in 4 different colours these are perhaps the most scented tulips ever!
For those of us wanting fruit plants to look equally as good as they taste our 2018 bulb catalogue launches the new pink foliaged blueberry – Pink Flamingo. Perfect for a pot on the patio.
This glorious summer may be a one-off or it may be the first of many more to come (fingers crossed!). One way to reduce the chore of constant watering is to introduce drought tolerant plants to the garden. The following will all look both attractive and interesting, even during a dreaded hosepipe ban!
Sedum Sempervivum Aeonium Silene
Lavender Calendula Armeria Mesembryanthemum
Eryngium Delosperma Echeveria Agapanthus
Grow Your Own Saffron
One of the most expensive spices in the world, saffron crocus is surprisingly easy to grow. Well drained soil and an open sunny position are all that is needed. Although Iran is currently the largest producer of saffron, it can be grown very successfully in the UK’s climate, as evidenced by the naming of Saffron Walden!
An autumn flowering crocus, the blooms are an attractive violet with stigmas of deep red-orange. Once hand picked and dried these stigmas form the spice, with 70,000 flowers being needed to make just 0.5kg! The good news is that only a small pinch is needed for traditional saffron based dishes such as paella, risotto and bouillabaisse.
1st – 5th Aug RHS Hyde Hall Flower Show
10th – 11th Aug Shrewsbury Flower Show
16th – 19th Aug Southport Flower Show
17th – 19th Aug RHS Rosemoor Flower Show
Plant of the Month
We’ve already talked about Saffron Crocus this month for the fact that you can grow your own saffron, the most expensive spice in the world. But not only can the stigmas be used for flavouring and colouring dishes, the vibrant lilac-purple blooms will also bring a dash of colour to your autumn garden.
Once established they put on a display of beautiful and deliciously scented blooms during autumn! They will thrive in a well drained border, but can easily be grown in a container on the patio. Plus, they’re super-hardy and they’ll multiply rapidly from year to year.