What a summer we have had! Many have had to spend it here in Ireland for the first time in years!
The great thing is that being present has made many more aware of their garden potential and what they had been missing.
There is no such thing as no maintenance,(that includes me), but it is the job and rewards we receive that make it all worth while – flowers, food,wildlife and vitamin D.
Keeping on top of jobs – weeding, pruning and keeping the lawn edges sharp can take away much of the pressure.Now is the time to start –
- Tidying up borders. Don’t chop everything, allow littler creatures to have protection, from the elements and other predators and enjoy the seed heads of Crocosmia lucifer, Agapanthus for many more months- but no harm to take way the really decaying bits.
- Turn your compost into another bin in preparation for refilling.As leaves fall start collecting, black plastic bags with holes can be useful to store this valuable product.
- Trim your low hedges (box) and get organised to trim the larger ones in late September or before the first frosts.Prue lteflowering shrubs.
- Keep dead heading your annuals such as sweet pea, cosmos until you decide to leave to set seed which you can then later harvest for sowing either in November or next year.Also dahlias, if you decide to lift them, mark the tubers with a marker by colour,so maybe you can plant by colour next year.If you leave them in the ground, cover with an organic mulch and remember to pull it back in February before the slugs wake up. Again dahlias can keep going until the first frost. – October depending where you are.
- Tidy up strawberry plants and remove any old straw from around the plants to improve ventilation and reduce the risk of pests and diseases. Strawberry ‘Skyline could be worth investigating as it is a climber a great idea for small space.Pot up strawberry runners beside parent and when own roots established you have your new fresh plant to start off for next year. Strawberries are at their peak year3 ,so time to replace for year 4.
- Aphid attack on cardoons, sweet pea and lupins- lots more , use a soapy solution in a hand spray (hose could be too strong) rhubarb leaves boiled in water, use the cooled water as a drench as it contains oxalic acid which is highly toxic to humans and aphids.Aphids can be brown, black, green and white. Ants have a symbiotic relationship with aphids by providing nature for aphid eggs in return for their a sugary food produced by aphids.
- August – Autumn, time to start planning for spring( happily winter takes care of itself). BULBS, great selection coming into garden centres now. The last bulbs to plant are tulips- winter job.
- Also opportunity to take cuttings. Select green, non-woody stems for taking tip cuttings. Newer growth is easier to root than woody stems,but we re coming into “Hard wood season”.Locate a stem that has a node, the spot on the stem where a leaf is or was attached. It looks like a joint on the stem and it is the area that will generate new roots. Use scissors or a razor blade that has been sterilised in alcohol/boiling water, to make a clean cut, just below a node. The cutting doesn’t need to be very long, a single node with a couple of leaves will be fine. Before taking any cuttings, get your pots and supplies ready. You should get the cuttings trimmed and planted immediately after removing them from the donor plant.Cuttings do best with consistent moisture, so plastic rather than terracotta pots , since terracotta dries out faster. But, if you can check on your plants every day, terracotta is better as it is breathable.Also making a little tent over will help to contain moisture, along with a little bottom can speed up rooting.
- To help guarantee flowers on your Camellias next year, check to make sure they do not dry out in the next couple of months, as flower buds are set now and can be dropped during a dry spell.
- Take lots of photos, to remind yourself in February, of what the garden looks like now, nd you will be delighted with what you have achieved.