More Gardening tips for August



More gardening tips for August
In this summer month, the garden is full of festive colours and scents. Your garden or balcony serves a summer lounge where you can enjoy the long warm evenings to the full. Overcast days are perfect to get on top of little chores that will prolong the abundance of flowers.

The Garden in General

  • Regular watering or spraying is essential for abundant flowers and growth. Never let the soil dry out too much.
  • Water drops can act as little magnifying glasses and cause scorching on the lawn, and especially on flowers and on foliage. Moreover, as most moisture evaporates almost instantly in the mid-day sun, far and away the best time to water is either in the early morning or late afternoon.
  • Indeed, watering in the early morning can also diminish the risk of fungal infections such as mildew or wilt in Clematis.
  • Give your plants a good soak twice a week. This is preferable to a few minutes every day as smaller amounts of water will probably not go deep enough into the ground to actually reach the roots of the plants.
  • Remove overblown flowers from perennials as soon as possible to encourage a second period of flowering.
  • Don’t wait to support and tie up your tall growing plants. An unexpected downpour can easily flatten them.
  • Dahlias, Gladioli and Cannas are shooting up now too and will need some support. Adjustable plant supports can be bought from us which are ideal.
  • Add a layer of mulch around the base of Rhododendrons and Azaleas. Their roots grow just under the soil surface and are therefore prone to drying out.
  • If you are not quite happy with the colour of a certain flower in a particular place, tie a piece of string in the colour of the flower around the plant. When the plant has stopped flowering, you will be able to remind yourself of the colour the flower was and re-plant it in a more suitable place.

    Holiday Garden Care

  • Before you leave on holiday, remove all flower heads and seed boxes from your flowering plants. Chances are that on your return the plants will produce more flowers. If you leave your plant to set seed it will not flower again until next season
  • Always try to persuade a friend or neighbour to water your garden or balcony plants while you are on holiday. If this is impossible, you will have to soak your garden as much as possible before you leave and remove all blooming and overblown flowers.
  • Check thoroughly for snails, slugs, aphids and other pests.

    Planting

  • Seeds of Poppies, Delphinium and Love-in-a-mist can soon be collected, dried and stored until next spring. Alternatively, you can sow them in right away to be assured of another fabulous flower display next year.
  • Autumn flowering bulbs like Autumn Crocus (Colchicum) can be planted from the beginning of July to September.
  • Pot-grown plants can be planted throughout the year.
  • Simply put the rootball in a bucket of water until it is saturated. However, never plant in very wet soil.
  • Michealmas Daisies and late Chrysanthemums can be planted now.
  • Spring-flowering bulbs can be planted from now on, but there is plenty of time yet. Perhaps leaving it until your return from your summer holiday might be a good idea; a good time to make new plans for the garden and to order new spring-flowering bulbs.

    Pruning

  • Climbing Hydrangea can be cut back flat against the wall after flowering.
  • Topiary and other shaped shrubs like Buxus, Privet and also Lavender can be pruned back into shape.
  • Cut some sprigs of your Lavender to dry while it is in full flower. Dried Lavender in a small cotton pouch in your airing cupboard will give a lovely fragrance to your towels.
  • Give evergreen shrubs and hedges a last prune now before winter.
  • And don’t forget your deciduous hedges. They too will need to be pruned for the last time now.
  • Deadhead Roses to prevent the production of seed (rose hips), which will exhaust the plant, then treat it with some Rose fertilizer to maintain its strength.
  • After the last flowers have wilted, the entire truss can be cut back to well developed leaf.
  • New shoots of Wisteria can be cut back to about 15 cm.
  • New Vine shoots can be cut back to the 4th leaf. As a special treat, wrap young Vine leaves around a bit of cheese and put them on the barbecue! You can enjoy this feast throughout the summer if you don’t cut the shoots back all at once.
  • If you want large grapes on your Vine remove about half of the bunches, and the smallest grapes from the remaining branches. Leaving one bunch per branch is usually best.
  • Regularly remove overblown Dahlia, Begonias and Canna flowers to stimulate new blooms.
  • After the first winter prune of your fruit trees, in May and June lots of suckers (small twigs that grow straight up) will appear. Entire brooms can spring up where you have pruned particularly hard. These shoots take up a lot of water and nutrients that could be used better elsewhere. Now is good time to remove these suckers.
  • Also now, thin out the fruits from your Apple, Pear and Plum trees. Remove the smaller ones and the remaining fruits will get a better chance to develop.
  • Treat your fruit trees to some extra trace elements and minerals this month with, for example, sea weed extract. During this growing period the trees will be more resistant to disease and fungal infections.
  • After harvesting berries and currants these shrubs can be pruned back.

    Your Lawn

  • In long dry spells, the lawn needs regular spraying. A good soak (a few hours) once a week is much more effective than 15 minutes every day
  • The lawn will need regular mowing this month. Don’t cut it too short. In long sunny spells the grass can easily be scorched and turn yellow.
  • For the best result, give your lawn some fertilizer every month. Choose an overcast day for this, again to prevent yellow patches.
    Holiday Lawn Care
    Mow the lawn before you leave, but never shorter than 2/3 of the original length of the grass. It takes a lot for the grass to recover and it easily scorches. Spray the lawn until the top 10 cm of the soil is wet.

    Tub Plants

  • Why not treat yourself to some tub plants that remind you of Mediterranean holidays. The Dwarf Olive, Fig or Dwarf Palm are great ideas. Or if you like, you can even grow a Banana plant!
  • All potted plants will need watering daily, perhaps twice a day in very warm weather.
  • An exception, however, are succulents like House Leeks and sub tropical plants like the Yucca and Dwarf Palm (Chamaerops). These can easily manage without watering for a day.
  • Never ever forget your hanging baskets. As they are hanging up, where evaporation will be much greater, they will dry out much faster than with any other planters. Water them at least once a day. However, if there are no plants growing out of the sides of the basket, simply dunking the whole basket in a large bucket or tub of water every other day will be sufficient.
  • Use rain water when you can. If you must use tap water, let it warm up in the sun first. Plants hate being splashed in freezing cold water.
  • Brugmansia can, depending on its winter retreat, flower as early as June but certainly in July. Give this impressive plant the largest tub you can find. The more space the roots get, the more abundant the plant will flower. Add some clay to the soil or use special tub plant compost that retains plenty of moisture
  • Give all tub and pot plants some liquid or granulated fertilizer every week.
  • Hanging baskets will need soluble plant food each week. Annuals in particular, whether in hanging baskets, tubs or pots, will need a lot of nutrients.

    Holiday Care for Tub Plants
    Plants in pots are very prone to drying out because their roots only have a small area from which to take water. For a holiday period, dig the pots in, in a shady spot in the garden. Other houseplants that spend the summer outside can also be treated in this way.

    The Kitchen Garden

  • When your kitchen garden has been dug and fertilized you can start sowing summer vegetables in May through to mid-July. Fennel would be a good selection and, looking ahead to winter, some different kinds of Cabbage.
  • Carrots that have been sown earlier this season can now be harvested. Re-fill the holes and firm the soil down to deter carrot fly.
  • Regularly check Strawberry beds for weeds.
  • Give Strawberries (potted ones as well) a weekly dose of soluble fertilizer high in potassium.
  • Pick ripe Strawberries with the crown attached. The fruits will keep longer and the plants are less prone to fungal infections.
  • After harvesting Strawberries the old plants should be replaced by new ones, either from the garden centre or by the runners from the original plant.
  • Water fruit trees daily.
  • If you have Pumpkins or Gourds, make sure they don’t take over the entire plot. They have male as well as female flowers, so you can try hand-pollinating them. In overcast weather, take the petals of a male flower and gently brush them over the stigma of the female flower. Female flowers can be identified by a thickening just under the flower and this will turn into a fruit when pollinated.
  • In wet weather, Pumpkins that lie on the wet soil can easily rot. Give them a bed of some straw or, not as pretty but very effective, a piece of polystyrene.
  • Herbs that produce seed like Dill, Fennel, Aniseed, Coriander and Cumin can be harvested and dried. Herbs like Chives, Parsley and Sage are more suitable for freezing. Put the chopped up portions of these herbs in ice-cube trays, fill them with water and place them in the freezer inside a plastic bag.
    Holiday Care for the Kitchen Garden
    Check your kitchen garden for any pests and weeds and remove these carefully. All fruits and vegetables that are nearly ripe must be picked. These can rot during your absence and cause problems with pests, fungal and other diseases.

    Your Pond

  • For a natural look water plants should be left alone as much as possible.
  • Remove Duckweed with a net. Other plants may suffocate beneath this if it is not removed. Empty the net on the ground by the pond and check for tadpoles and newts. They are usually visible on the surface of the Duckweed and can be carefully replaced in the pond.
  • Place a rock on the sunny side of the pond. Frogs like to sit and sunbathe in such a place. Butterflies too appreciate a warm spot like this
  • Keep the foliage of Water Lilies under control. Just like Duckweed they can suffocate other water plants.
  • Regularly check for algae and remove it straight away.
  • If, as a result of evaporation the water level starts to fall, fill it back up bit by bit. This will prevent the pond from cooling down too much at once.
  • If the pond water turns murky, check if your oxygenating plants are still there and maybe add some new ones. Water fleas often also do the trick.
  • Marginal plants need to be watered regularly too.

    Indoors

  • Wipe all foliage down (top side as well as bottom) with lukewarm water and a sponge.
  • Open windows regularly; houseplants need fresh air. Don’t forget the roots, for that matter. Loosen the compost with a fork every now and again.
  • Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) starts its dormant period at the end of July. Stop watering the plant and let the foliage die back. The dead foliage can be removed and the bulb can be re-planted in December.
  • Flowers from the Rose, Nasturtium, Borage and Daisy buds can be used in the kitchen. Glaze Rose petals with icing sugar and use them as decoration on cakes. Nasturtium and the blue flowers of Borage spice up a lettuce or cucumber salad. Pickled Daisy buds taste like capers.
  • Herbs like Dill, Parsley and Thyme can be picked and dried or frozen into ice cubes.
  • Try and grow your own exotic summer fruit. Simply collect the pips or stones and keep them at a temperature of 10 to 20 °C. For germination a soil temperature of 15 to 20°C is required. It can take quite a long time for them to germinate so some patience is needed too. Always give them a light spot. By using special propagation sets your chances of success are higher.
  • Cut flowers from the garden stay fresh for longer if you treat them correctly. Cut Rose stems at an angle. The stems of Astilbe and Dahlia should be dunked in warm water before they are arranged, while the stems of Euphorbia stay fresh by being dunked into boiling water for a few seconds.
  • Cut flowers early in the morning, then wrap them in newspaper and place them in a bucket.
  • Peonies and Lilies should be picked before the buds have opened.
  • The flowers of Dahlias however, should be opened up completely before they are picked.
  • Never place a vase of flowers next to a fruit bowl. Ripe fruit produces ethylene which causes buds to drop and flowers to wilt.
  • For up to date information, please contact us.
  • This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 at 4:27 pm and is filed under Garden Tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed or trackback from your own site. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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