Well it has been extremely hot over the last couple of months and I have had a hose pipe and a watering can permanently attached to my hands!
The warm weather is set to continue for the rest of the summer which is great, as we don’t often get a long stretch of good weather in the UK. It is, of course, not so good for the gardener as you will have to spend hours watering every day. With this in mind it is a good idea to prioritise what most needs water. Pots, hanging baskets and the greenhouse are top of the list as they are completely reliant on you for water. Second are any newly planted trees and shrubs that have not got their roots down yet.
Next priority would be the vegetable garden – it needs lots of water to prevent the veg from going woody and running to seed. You will get a much bigger and better crop the more water you give.
Established borders should not need extra water unless it has been dry for a long period. I would select certain plants that are showing stress to give water rather than the whole border. Trees, large shrubs and the lawn will survive. No matter how brown your lawn gets it will always come back to life after a good rain, so unless you are obsessed with a perfect green lawn all year round save your water for the plants that really do need it.
August in Britain is all about flower shows and church fetes – they are happening up and down the land, although some less frequently than others. There may be many reasons for their demise.
They may run out of money due to bad weather the previous year. The committee may have had a falling out or perhaps the local community doesn’t want to get involved?
But there are many successful flower shows that carry on regardless year after year – after all they are a British institution that must carry on. So do find out where your local village show is taking place and go along and support them, even if you don’t enter, buying a cup of tea and a slice of cake will help keep them going for another year.
There is a still lot to be getting on with in the garden especially if you want your produce looking tip top in the show. In the vegetable garden your onions should be ready to harvest about now. To do this, dig them up with a trowel, cut the green tops and roots off then place upside down on your greenhouse bench. Do the same for your garlic and shallots as well if you have not yet harvested them.
Keep sowing your salad crops every couple of weeks so you get a constant supply of salad leaves throughout the summer. But it is also time to consider sowing some crops for you to harvest through the winter such as Japanese onions, kale, cauliflower and cabbage to name a few. Also cut back your herbs to prevent them from going to flower – it will also encourage lots of new growth which is what you need to cook with.
There will be plenty of dead heading to be doing in the flower garden. You do need to do this regularly so that the flowers keep coming. Especially if you have sweet peas, keep on cutting off those dead flowers before they go to seed. The more flowers you cut off the more flowers will come.
Cut back any perennials that have finished flowering, I always like to have a few bedding plants growing in pots so that I can plant into the gaps so your border keeps on looking good and full of colour all summer long.