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Its been very hot here lately- up among the 30’s Celsius for several days…and no rain! Here are a few shots of the garden in early August…before the parching really set in!

Relax, it's summer...picture by Merv French

Relax, it’s summer…picture by Merv French

August can be a bit of a ‘graveyard’ month – few things are looking good in the garden as the first flushes of growth on many plants have died or been pruned away and there’s not much (yet) to replace them. It can be one of the hottest, driest months in the UK, too, making watering essential – and this could be a problem if you’re on holiday and don’t have friends or neighbours (or an automatic watering system) to do it for you. So this month’s tips are mainly about harvesting, maintaining colour and interest, pruning and propagating new plants – and of course, watering!

1. Prune now for next year’s fruit and flowers

To encourage flowering or fruiting shoots, prune early flowering shrubs if not already done so and also trim back the new straggly stems of Wisteria to about 5 or 6 buds above the joint with the main stem – this will encourage energy to go into forming new flowering spurs. Do the same for fan or other trained fruit like plums, cherries a etc. Cut out the old fruiting stems of summer raspberries to encourage the new stems to grow and tie these in as you go to stop them rocking around too much. Sever, lift and pot up strawberry runners if you want to replace old plants or expand your strawberry bed. Trim back your lavender once it has finished flowering, to stop it growing leggy (but just the tops- don’t cut into old, woody stems).

2. Cut out the dead or diseased

Dead head and ‘dead leaf’ perennials and annuals to prolong flowering as long as possible and keep plants looking tidy. Cut back herbs (Chives, Chervil, Fennel, Marjoram etc.) to encourage a new flush of tasty leaves that you can harvest before the first frost. Dry or freeze your herbs to use in the kitchen later on or sow some in pots that you can bring inside later in the year.  Look out for symptoms of Clematis Wilt such as wilting leaves and black discolouration on the leaves and stems of your Clematis. Cut out any infected plant material and dispose of it in your household waste.

Clematis wilt

Clematis wilt

3. Water when necessary

Containers, hanging baskets and new plants in particular need a regular water and some will need to be fed too. Ideally use stored rainwater or ‘grey water’ (recycled from household washing, but only that without soap and detergents etc.). Keep ponds, bog gardens and water features topped up. Particularly thirsty plants include:

  • Phlox

  • Aster

  • Persicaria

  • Aconitum

  • Helenium

  • Monarda

4. Mulch

To conserve moisture in the soil around plants use a mulch of organic material. An easy option is grass clippings –  put these on a plastic sheet and leave for a day in the sunshine. Turn the pile of clippings and leave for another day, or until they have turned brown. Spread the mulch round each plant, but avoid covering the crown as you might encourage it to rot. As mulch attracts slugs avoid those plants that these pests enjoy – Hostas, Delphiniums etc. Check that any mulch applied earlier hasn’t decomposed and add more as needed. Ideally, spread a mid-season layer of compost or manure – this will act to conserve moisture and feed the plants too.

Harvest Sweet corn this month

Harvest Sweet corn this month

5. Harvest home

Pick vegetables such as Sweet Corn. Pinch out the top of tomato plants to concentrate the growth into the fruit that has already formed. Aim to leave 5 or 6 trusses of fruit per plant. If you’re going away ask a neighbour / friend to pick your flowers, salad and veg to prevent everything running to seed in your absence.

6. Last chance saloon 

In the early part of the month sow your last veg for autumn/ winter harvesting (e.g chard or spinach). You can also sow salad leaves under cover in warmer areas. And sow green manures in ground that is going to be left vacant for a few months so as to help maintain nutrient levels and to keep weeds down.

7. Think seeds

Gather seeds from plants you want to propagate in this way and store them/ seed heads in paper bags if it’s not yet ripe. And why not allow some self seeding in some areas? Mow wild flower meadows to allow seeds to spread for next year.

Divide Bearded irises to give the divisions time to establish

Divide Bearded irises to give the divisions time to establish

8. Divide to multiply 

If the weather and soil conditions allow, start dividing perennials, perhaps beginning with bearded Irises. Either replant the divisions in the garden or pot them up for later sales/swaps/gifts.

9. Cut to grow 

Take cuttings, an excellent way of increasing your woody and semi-woody plants like fuchsias and pelargoniums. Choose a healthy shoot and cut the top six inches, then remove all but the topmost leaves. For insurance, dip in a little rooting powder and place in moist compost. Keep them in a cold greenhouse from September and plant them in their positions next spring, when there is not much chance of heavy frost.

August is a good time for taking Fuchsia cuttings

August is a good time for taking Fuchsia cuttings

10. Enjoy and inspect

Spend a good amount of time in the garden enjoying it – asleep, with friends or just admiring what you and mother nature have created! And while you’re at it make notes / take photos of your borders etc. to identify any problem areas that need sorting out for next year; overcrowded groups of plants, gaps, areas lacking colour or interest, weak looking plants etc. And it’s also important to record good plant combinations you might want to repeat – or just take pictures of those good looking areas for the record.

Old School Gardener

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As flowers go over be sure to deadhead regularly where appropriate to encourage longer flowering on into the Autumn and generally prevent the garden from looking frazzled and messy.

Collect seed pods for those plants that you’re planning to re-seed, and those that you don’t want to reseed themselves.

Prune back your pleached fruit trees, leaving 3 or 4 leaves on each sideshoot.  If any of your other fruit trees need pruning, do this immediately after you have harvested.

Trim back your lavender once it has finished flowering, to stop it growing leggy.

Although weeds will be growing more slowly than in the spring, it’s an idea to continue to hoe the soil to keep them down. This should be done in warm, dry conditions to ensure any weed seedlings left on the surface dehydrate and die.

If you’re going away ask a neighbour / willing family member to pick your flowers, salad and veg to prevent everything running to seed in your absence.

Now is the time to look at your borders and note any gaps / congestion that you’ll want to rectify later in the season when everything has gone over, ahead of next year. And start your shopping list for Autumn bulbs.

And of course, at this time of year, watering is key. Keep on top of this daily, making sure you water in the morning or late afternoon-evening to prevent the heat evaporating all the water before it reaches the plant roots.

Grow Your Own

Flowers
Support your dahlias, lilies and gladioli with stakes and flower rings to ensure the weight of their beautiful flower doesn’t cause their stems to break.

Chrysanths will benefit from being pinched or sheared back, encouraging more growth and flowers.

Keep picking your cut flowers to encourage more blooms and a longer flowering season.

Towards the end of August you can start planning next year’s colour by sowing your hardy annuals.

Grow Your Own

Veg and Salad

Plant out your leeks and brassicas if you haven’t already, and you can also squeeze in a final sowing of spinach and chard in the first couple of weeks of August.

Sow salad leaves under cover, or out in the open if in warmer parts of the UK.


Herbs 
Sow Basil,  Marjoram, Borage, Chervil, Chives, Coriander, Dill, Parsley in pots outside, to make moving them indoors as easy as possible in the late autumn

Fruit
Transplant strawberry runners to a new position.

Ensure that your fruit crops aren’t pinched by the birds by covering with netting, ensuring the netting stands well clear of the fruit.

Harvesting Food – What you could be picking and eating this time next year, or – if you’re an old hand – already are 

– See more at: http://www.sarahraven.com/august-in-the-garden#sthash.xPIdXOO2.dpuf

Save

As we hit high summer, here’s a few photos of our ‘Lockdown Garden’…will I spend as much time (and money) next year?

On Sunday afternoon the sun shone (it had rained most of the night before), and around 125 people visited Old School Garden, Oaklands Farm and the Parish Church in Haveringland’s first ‘Open Gardens’ event.

We raised nearly £900 for 2 ‘good causes’ (repairs and improvements to the Church and to support the Papillon Project -which is creating allotments at High Schools across Norfolk) . 

Many people said how grateful they were for the opportunity to get out and meet others and sit in a peaceful garden. It was especially  pleasing to meet two families who had lived in the Old School back in the 1970’s and 1980’s..they loved looking round and remembering the place 50 years ago.

One of them..Dennis Carter (see picture) even wore a badge from back then..he was one of the founders of the ‘Friends of St.Peter’s’ and was pleased to hear about the plans for repairs and improvements.

And at Oaklands Farm Zena and Dave, with 8 arts and crafts stalls also put on a great show. Apart from these attractions their lovely garden was also available and Dave’s work to restore a rare 1930’s Leopard Moth aircraft proved to be a big hit.

And the Papillon Project had a great afternoon explaining the project to some enthusiastic visitors and sold some refurbished garden tools amongst other items at their ‘Pap up shop’!

The Church and Conservation Churchyard were also open and many visitors managed to see inside the Church for the first time, as it is normally closed.

Thanks to Jane Steward of Eastgate Larder and to Peter Purdy of Woodgate Nursery for their donations of merchandise which all helped boost our takings.

Thank you to everyone who came along – we’re already thinking of even bigger and better next year!

Here’s Reggie and Poppy, children of some friends nearby. Reggie was keen to build a Bug Hotel so I provided him with some materials and a pallet. Great Work you two!

Come and see us between 2.30 and 6pm! See here for more info and a link to buy tickets

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/gardens-and-churchyard-to-open-in-haveringland-1-6750599

tickets here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/haveringland-gardens-tickets-112802974734

Haveringland Gardens

Two and a half acres of beautiful gardens and an award winning conservation churchyard and other attractions are on offer on Sunday 19th July.

Haveringland’s Old School Garden and Oaklands Farm are joined by the Parish churchyard (the historic church will also be open for private prayer). This open gardens event is in aid of repairs and improvements at the Church and to help the Papillon Project (creating allotments at Norfolk High Schools http://www.thepapillonproject.com).

And it won’t just be gardens and nature on offer. A number of arts and crafts people will be selling their wares:

  • Alison Varley– jewellry (https://www.alisonvarleyjewellery.co.uk/)
  • Zena Tooze– ceramics(https://ztceramics.myshopify.com/)
  • Greenwood Apiaries– local honey, beeswax candles ( Instagram @beesrbuzzing)
  • Roger Tidman– award winning wildlife photographer
  • Julie Branson -artwork (InstaGram @juliecharlesworthmurals)
  • Pauline Beales– handmade sewing items
  • Caroline – cut flowers, plants

And you can buy some of the much in demand Papillon Project merchandise and find out more about this exciting project. And there’s also the opportunity to see a vintage motorcycle, a rare Leopard Moth Aircraft under restoration and find out about Haveringland’s history and plans for church improvements.

Due to the current restrictions we will not be opening toilets or offering refreshments, other than a cup of tea or soft drink. Admission will also be by timed ticket only so that we can manage numbers, and clear social distancing guidelines, hand sanitiser and one-way systems will be in operation to make it as safe as possible.

The event runs from 2pm with last admission by 5pm (closing around 6pm), and admission is £6 per adult (payable upon booking) with under 16’s free. Any additional donations on the day would be welcome.

The link to buy tickets is https://www.eventbrite.com/e/haveringland-gardens-tickets-112802974734

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