August 22


I don't need to tell you that it has been dry and hot over the past month. But unfortunately, many plants suffered during that spell and will probably not recover this season unless you have been watering them.

Of course, your lawn is the biggest' plant' to suffer. At the time of writing this, there has not been much in the way of rain in the forecasts. The lawns will undoubtedly need a boost, so plan to give a light feed if you know there is going to be a period of rain. Otherwise, get the sprinkler out (if we are still allowed) and give the lawn a really good soaking. After a few days, you should see the grass 'greening up'.

Several months back, I mentioned that we had re-done the garden's main pond, which has been very successful. Everything has grown back well and looks well established. It is easy to think that a pond does not need much maintenance, and in general, that is true. However, you do need to keep an eye on it, ensuring that the water is topped up regularly and that you are removing any build-up of pond weed etc. If you have fish, ensure that the water is aerated correctly, this can be done by using a pump or regularly topping up the water and allowing it to overflow. We purchased 24  fish to restock the pond. Alas, nasty Mr Heron found out and has taken more than 12 so far. They are magnificent birds, but despite scaring him every time we see him, he goes up on the roof of the house or the top of a tree and defiantly stares at us. He has more patience than me, I go indoors, and he returns. Any suggestions??.  We have decoys, but they do not deter him.

In all gardens, plants will come into flower and die off and if you want to be tidy and get some more blooms, keep 'deadheading'. This will encourage the plant to grow more flowers. For example, roses are doing exceptionally well this year and respond greatly to 'deadheading'. Likewise, the more often you pick Sweet peas, the more flowers you will get. Many others will benefit from this practice.

Bedding plants will be coming into their own now. Keep them well watered and fed, and they will keep going right up to the frosts. Antirrhinums, Sweet Williams, Marigolds, Asters and many more will go longer if 'deadheaded'.

Those who took my advice and planted some Lettuce or other vegs in the borders should now be able to start using them. Likewise, if you planted some early or second early tatties, you can begin lifting them and enjoy your harvest. Raspberries and other fruits like Blueberries and Gooseberries have enjoyed the sunshine and heat and cropped well, and a little feed will build them up for next year.

Lastly, if you have Lavender in the garden, now is the perfect time to harvest. If you want to have the rich lavender colour of the flower, harvest now, if you want the 'seed heads', leave them a little longer to ripen. Once clipped, you should enjoy a second flourish, although not as many flowers. If you want to keep the flowers on the stems, make some small bundles tied with string, hang them upside down, and allow them to dry; they will last for years. If you have opted for the seed heads, do the same, and once dry, strip off the seeds and use them in bowls or fill sachets.

Remember, too, that now is one of the best times to trim your hedges.

Enjoy August and the lovely days it brings.