And then it was August. Completely bonkers, testing, amazing, uplifting and surreal.
There are so many things that one could say about this extraordinary period and whilst it has at times been tough, I have had fun. The oft mentioned ‘playing’ has been at the heart of my journey and has reminded me of all that delivered me as a kid to gardening. I do hope that you have found the time to play too.
Generally speaking, gardens have never been so good, though I must record that the rain came at the right time. Everything lifted and was refreshed. There was a cost of course, the weeds enjoyed the rain, the black fly have been dreadful and the pigeons hungry. The humidity is bringing in disease too, with many fungal conditions making themselves known. In particular there has been a lot of mildew and I think we will need to keep an eye out for blight. These things are not easy to combat. Thinning foliage to improve airflow can make a difference, but chemical applications need to be used as a prevention rather than as a cure. Around the garden the maintenance issues are key and harvesting is of real importance, leaving produce on the plant, blocks the way for the next pick and takes energy. So, keep crops picked and keep flowers dead headed to extend the season. Keep planting too.
On the vegetable plot, we can still be sowing salads, extending the range to bring in mustard, endive, rocket and corn salad. We can still sow spinach and spring cabbage. There are still vegetable plants around and late sprouts and purple sprouting will still come through. Bulbs are arriving in garden centres and whilst there is no great urgency, the best ranges are there to buy in August. Certainly get organised with Hyacinths if you want to try your luck for Christmas. Pot them, water them and get them into a cool dark place to start the journey. They focus on growing roots when starved of light and will be ready for light after ten to twelve weeks.
And finally, try taking some cuttings. Many bits of shrubs as well as geraniums and fuchsias will root now. Break a few bits off and give it a go. By the end of the month we shall see the first of the winter pansies. The year rolls on.