Gardening by month
Gardening in August
Containers full of summer flowers should be looking at their best through August, and in addition to watering they will also benefit from regular feeding with a high potassium plant food to keep them going longer. Regular dead-heading (removal of spent blooms) is also a good idea for plants in pots or out in beds and borders.
Now is the time to start planning winter and spring displays – and few flowers will give a better display or value for money than pansies, violas, primroses and polyanthus. Pansy Plentifall is a real breakthrough in plant breeding, as it is the first seed-raised trailing variety. This sparkling mixture just cries out for hanging baskets, window boxes and patio containers, where it will flower freely and over many weeks . New for this year is Pansy Pandora’s Box, a stunning mix of strong, jewel-like colours which will brighten just about any garden.
We should also mention our new and exclusive Viola Floral Power Citrus Twist F1 – our unique blend of oranges, lemons plus a white to give a really eye-catching display. The plants grow to just 6in/15cm, are very free flowering and completely hardy. Its ‘sister’ variety’ Floral Power Rose Wing F1 ids also well worth a look with its tricolor whiskered ‘faces’.
Polyanthus has long been a spring favourite with our customers. Our new Stella range, available in Champagne, Lunar Gold, Neon Violet and Regal Red, is a multiflora (multi-headed) type and capable of flowering from late January right through to May. The Stellas are remarkably hardy and the beautiful blooms are set against healthy, dark green foliage. We are very keen on double primroses and really rate Rubens Mixed F1, a lovely blend of strong colours and fully double flower heads. These really look stunning in patio pots, where their delightful flower form can be appreciated close-up.
Fruit and Vegetables
If you like the idea of cutting cauliflowers and cabbages from your plot in the months ahead, there is still time (last order date mid August) to order our collections of plants of four varieties of each. We shall despatch them to you when they are ready to go out into the garden and grow away rapidly.
Autumn-planted garlic always gives the best results and heaviest crops next summer, so do take a look at our excellent selection of this easy-to-grow vegetable. We start despatching to you from September onwards. Our Early Purple Wight, with its large, purple bulbs can sometimes be ready to lift as early as mid May for use during the summer months. If you want a garlic to ‘keep’ well, go for Solent Wight, which has densely packed cloves and a strong, fresh flavour.
Staying with the Allium family, over-wintering onion sets can be planted in late August and early September. We suggest ordering now to ensure supplies of your favourite varieties. If you like red-skinned onions, go for Electric, while both Troy ands Radar will yield tradionally golden-skinned bulbs next summer. Take a look too at our shallots Griselle, highly prized in France, and Jermor, a traditional ‘Jersey longue’ type with an excellent pedigree.
Maincrop onions are usually ready for harvest this month. It is best to let the foliage collapse naturally than to bend it over. Carefully prise them out of the soil with a fork, taking care not to spike the mature bulbs. Leave them to dry for a few days on the surface of the soil before bringing them indoors to prepare for storage.
More and more people are growing their own fruit than ever before. There are plenty of different types to consider it you fancy the thought of growing something a little different. The bilberry is a native British relative of the blueberry, bearing its rosy-red fruits during the summer. The little fruits, which are high in antioxidants, are great for making into pies and jam, but the plants do need an acidic soil if they are to thrive. If the soil in your garden is alkaline, simply plant a bilberry in a large tub of ericaceous compost, available from most garden centres.
Cranberry Pilgrim also requires eriocaceous compost. It has a low, spreading habit, evergreen foliage and small pink flowers. These are followed by those juicy, tart, red berries. Very hardy, self-fertile and generally trouble-free, Pilgrim is well worth growing.
If you are growing tomatoes on cordons (supported) outside, pinch out the growing toip after the fourth truss of flowers so that all the fruits have a chance to ripen. Keep feeding greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers with a good quality feed to encourage further cropping and ripening.
If dry weather persists during August, raise the height of the blades on the lawn mower and reduce the frequency of mowing. The lawn can now be given a feed to prepare it for the autumn and winter ahead.