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GARDENS FOR NATURE AND YOU

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Select some suitable cuttings and prepare them for propagation, trim just below a leaf node or ideally taken with a heal and dip in hormone rooting powder or gel, take off any large leaves, trim the heal and cut off the top of the stem allowing about 9”; push several cuttings around the edge of a plant pot, water well and place a plastic bag over the pot and leave in a shady area. Keep a check to make sure they do not dry out. When new leaves appear after about a month, you will know they have taken root and the plastic bag should be removed.


Dahlias and gladioli will need staking to prevent wind damage. Keep picking dahlia stems for home decoration and to keep the plant sending out new buds. Gladioli also make good cut flowers, but they won’t flower again until next year. Hollyhocks and clematis will keep well if put in hot water for a few moments before arranging.  Annuals will have seed heads drying, cut the stems carefully and place upside down in a paper bags, shake to collect the seed. Transfer to envelopes with date and name of plant and these can be sown in the garden next year.


Shallots and onions can be lifted, push the tops over to help them dry off before lifting and hang up to store.  Have a go at plaiting the dried leaves together in the traditional way or put in net bags and hang in the shed. Root vegetables can be lifted, main crop potatoes, beetroot and carrots; these can be stored in boxes, bedded in sand or newspaper.


Prepare beds ready to take the autumn sowings of Brussels sprouts and the last batch of lettuce for the year.



The garden will need tidying up a bit now as the early flowering plants have gone over. Also start preparing for winter; all the narcissi family can be planted, from the miniature flowered varieties to the largest daffodils. Have a go at planting narcissi in pots and bowls for displays at Christmas.


Watering your garden is an important job to be done throughout summer, but don’t water everything unless the ground is very dry. Most established plants will manage without extra watering, to encourage the roots to go deeper into the ground, if you do water, saturate the ground well. Make sure azaleas and other early flowering shrubs to not get too dry or they will drop next year’s young buds.


A simple watering solution for house plants would be to put them in the bath, water well and leave away from sunlight. In a cool shaded room they should survive quite well for a couple of weeks.


Strawberries will have sent out runners which can be potted up while still on the parent plant. When roots have taken, separate from parent and plant in beds or special strawberry pots for fruiting next year.  


Shrubs that have finished flowering will need pruning back. Take care not to cut back too hard into lavender as it will not shoot from old wood - keep the cuttings and hang up in an airy room to dry and then use in pot pouris and to scent rooms with dried rose petals and other herbs such as rosemary, thyme and sage.  


Take stock of your garden and borders now to plan new ideas for next year.



The summer holidays are now upon us, for some of us the garden will have to look after itself for a week of two. Before going away, mow the lawn without the box on to allow the clippings to act as a mulch and water well; if when you come back the grass looks dead, don’t worry, it will recover with a good watering or downpour of rain.





AUGUST

Prepare beds ready to take the autumn sowings of Brussels sprouts and the last batch of lettuce for the year.