In The Garden: August

22nd July 2011

Happy Holidays

Tips for this month's gardening from National Garden Gift Vouchers

There’s still a lot of summer to be enjoyed during August with plenty of bright colours being provided by late flowering plants. It’s also the perfect time to start stock piling the fruits of your labour so think about how you can use the flowers and herbs that are growing in abundance at the moment.

Collect lavender flowers to make pot pourri (and then trim the bush into a neat shape for re-growth) or freeze your fresh herbs, such as parsley, for a steady supply through the winter. Cut the younger leaves, rinse in clean water and, after putting them in a plastic bag, place in the freezer. There is no need to chop them up, simply crush them gently when frozen and use as required.

Mint is an ideal herb for the freezer, and although most people are aware that this fragrant herb can help settle the stomach, many are unaware that it can be added to a hot bath… just a handful of leaves will deliver wonderful scent, ease tiredness and condition the skin. Mint can be grown in a border, on the edge of a path or in a pot, but it can spread very rapidly so it’s best grown in an enclosed area.

Another fast grower is the Japanese Anemone – a beautiful plant that is very easy to grow. Japanese Anemones flower their heads off from August through to the frosts. They are happy in full sun or partial shade and prefer moist, fertile soil. Not only are they fully hardy but they also make a wonderful display when used with other border plants such as asters and sedums. Once planted, though, try to avoid moving them – they don’t like it!

August is usually the month when most of us go on holiday and leave our gardens to fend for themselves. A little thought before you go, and some tender loving care when you return, will be enough to make sure that you can go away without worrying about your efforts in the garden going to waste.

While you are on holiday and your garden is left unattended, many of your plants can suffer due to lack of water. Make sure that, before you go, you make provision for this, especially for containers and baskets. One of the easiest ways is simply to fill a large plastic bottle with water, put the screw lid on and then make small holes in the lid. Place the bottle of water in the pot or basket and it will slowly drip water into the soil.

On returning from your holiday it will be worth dead-heading the flowers in baskets and tubs and generally reviving the garden with this sort of maintenance. Dead-heading bedding, roses and other plants will all help to bring the garden back to life again after your absence.

Finally, get out those bulb catalogues, have a look and start deciding which bulbs you would like to order or purchase at the garden centre (with your National Garden Gift Vouchers!) so that you can start planting in September. There are many kinds available including daffodils, snowdrops, crocus and tulips which all give you a burst of colour early next year.

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