Well, this year really is racing by. July has been an interesting month, the early weeks just a little too dry to bring out the best in things, but we may yet catch up. Certainly the warmth has been great for pests and when there has been a splash of rain all manner of things have turned up. We have seen plenty of Scale insects and woolly aphid, both of which have the armoury to confound treatment, unless you are constantly on the case. I do always look for the positive and in the case of these two pests, their lifestyle is worth reading into. The limpet like tenacity of the Scale insect is extraordinary.Your research will allow the frustration to be tempered a little in considering the remarkable diversity of life. Anyway, for the moment the trick is to keep up plant maintenance, watering, feeding, dead heading and ventilating. The more air that you get around undercover crops the cleaner you can keep them.
Do keep on top of the harvesting too. The season is late, and many things are only just starting to perform. As spaces appear, we can do some infilling, spring cabbage can be put out and you will still get away with sowing Perpetual Spinach for winter harvest. There will be good space as the potatoes get lifted. In the flower borders very soon, we will be back on to pansies, violas, wallflowers and bulbs. I will certainly be putting in more bulbs this autumn. Last spring was great for all of them, with some wonderful colour. Daffodils and tulips were all fabulous and you will find something for every setting. The range of colours available in tulips draws from every part of the palette. All centres will be carrying stock now and you have three months to get planting but do start looking as choice items do sell through quickly.
If you fancy trying your luck with Hyacinths or new potatoes for Christmas, now is the time. The Hyacinths must be purchased as ‘prepared’ and need doing by the middle of the month with pots being set in the dark. The potatoes just want popping into a bucket and lightly watering.
And finally, August is a good month for dividing bulbous and tuberous perennials. So if you want a few more Irises or Day Lilies, push the spade through the clump and separate.