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ACG Year August 2022 : Pro Gallery
ACG Year August 2022 : Text

Well August is here.   It seems to have come round very quickly this year - perhaps because we are catching up with meeting friends and families who we have had to neglect over the past two years or so.   Unfortunately, the garden does not allow us the luxury of neglect.  

I am not much of a fruit and veg grower. Two courgette plants, three currant bushes, a lot of rhubarb, some beetroot and tomatoes are about my lot.   So, I stand in the garden and look at the trees and shrubs and herbaceous perennials.

This year the growth of shrubs and hedges seemed to be terrific early on and I have not entirely kept up with the correct pruning times.

My Philadelphus, Deutzia and Weigela, of which I have several varieties, have not all been pruned and if I am fierce with them and cut out a third I will be sacrificing next year’s flowers.   I did deal with a large Berberis and emerged scratched and wounded so I won’t be touching that for a while.    

My garden is a spring and summer garden and by the time I get to August things start to look a bit dried up.   The Hydrangeas look good, a couple of large Annabelles and oak leaved varieties.   The Cotinus “Grace” has burst out after I cut it almost to the ground last autumn.

The roses look like they need a bit of help to produce a second small flush in September, some will oblige.   I don’t give them any assistance at this time of year.     I have a number of successful shrub roses, unsuccessful or worn-out Hybrid teas, which don’t grow well in our area, and some good climbers.    I won’t spray and the ground is dry therefore can’t be mulched.   I pulled out all the stops in March with pruning, feeding and mulching and stroking, so they just get deadheaded and left to their own devices.   The dahlias are doing well as long as they get some water.   I don’t feed them.   Again, like the roses I make them comfortable and plant them with bonemeal and a lot of home grown compost and then it is survival of the fittest.   

This month it is time to deal with the area all round the pond, my wild/meadow bit.   This area has expanded as a couple of years ago two large trees had to come out as they pushed over the wall.   It was sad as one was a golden rain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) and the other an ancient crab apple (Malus cornubia, I think).   Anyway, the area underneath is now open and “wild”.   I have planted Fritillaria meleagris and some species daffodils and a wild flower mix.   The ox eye daisies have spread from around the pond so during March, April, May and June that area looks good under the trees with daffodils, then buttercups, camassia, ox eye daisies and other wild flowers, a couple of orchids, some water irises and lots of cow parsley.  But by August things have gone to pot.   The grass is long (I must try and plant some rattle to weaken the grass a bit) and with two grandchildren, footballs and a helpful husband removing pondweed occasionally any flowers have been trampled and the cow parsley has seeded all over the garden.   It is time to strim the lot and leave it for a little while then rake it all up and put it on the compost.   That is another problem - the compost has to get hot enough to kill off the weed seeds!   I believe it is right to leave a wild area in your garden, however small, but this idea of creating a fashionable pretty wild flower meadow, if you have the room, and believing that being wild it will not need as much care as the rest of the garden is a fallacy.


Oh and the box caterpillar!   Well I have them.   I have had to spray (Xentura).   However as I stand in the garden I am working out how to take away some of my box and at the same time preserve the huge box hedge beside the house which is shown in a photo taken towards the beginning of the 20th Century which Jean Davis passed on to me.   Wish me luck!  

Alex Pearce         

Things to do in August


Gardeners' World

ACG Year August 2022 : Text
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