July brought us extremes of weather and now we are in the first week of August. It is time to prepare your garden for the holidays! Of course the trouble with British weather is that it is so unpredictable that we need to be ready for any eventualities while we are away.
1. Move any patio pots to a shady area of the garden and water well. Give them a drop of plant food too.
2. Dead head annual plants and roses. By the time you come back they will be in full flower again.
3. Cut the lawn before you go. You will not believe how fast grass can grow if it is warm and wet while you are away.
4. Move houseplants away from window sills and place in a shady area of the house. Make sure you water and feed too.
5. If you have any particularly prized houseplants, you can create a little oasis for them by creating your own capillary matting in a bath! Get an old towel and place in the bath. Make sure it is soaking wet and put the plug in the bath. Fill the plug end of the bath with a pool of water and place plants directly onto the towel. The towel will act as a capillary mat and draw up water. Plants kept like this will be happy for a week or so.
6. Now is the time to plan for Christmas flowering bulbs such as Hyacinths and Narcissus. Hyacinths planted early this month will be in full bloom on your Christmas table.
7. Plant Colchicums now for an autumn display.
8. Prune hardy lavenders to keep them compact. Take away the complete flower stem and a couple of centimetres of this year’s growth.
9. Finish pruning evergreen and deciduous hedges. The birds will have flown the nest so it is safe to cut back hedges.
10. Powdery mildew on plants can be devastating to the plant. Spray at the first signs with an appropriate fungicide.
Have a great August!
“This article first appeared in the Metro in 2013”