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AUGUST: Garden Goddess

Gardenscape provides our latest monthly lowdown on what we should be doing in the garden to make it picture-perfect this summer. It’s mostly sun and games, but there’s a little bit of work to do, too...

With the summer holidays in full swing and the chance to hopefully spend more time outdoors than usual, tending to the garden might be quite low down on the list – especially if entertaining the kids and getting your cost-per-use on your sun loungers are in order.

However, there are some tasks that need tackling this month, but we promise they’re not too arduous. You’ll still have plenty of time to soak up the sun and relax, and you can do so safe in the knowledge that your garden is in tip top condition. Cheers to that!

Banish the brown

Soaking up the rays in pursuit of a golden tan might be on your agenda this month, but the plants in your garden don’t have the same ideals – if they’re looking a bit brown, they’ll need a bit of TLC to keep them fresh. Keep watering regularly and make sure the lawn is looking healthy – if there are brown patches don’t mow these as it’ll only make things worse. In fact, ease up on the mowing altogether if you can, to help keep the lawn looking its best.

Trees and hedges will also need some attention to avoid unsightly brown patches too – clip conifers now so that new young shoots can form before the frost arrives, and if you have laurel hedges, trim them with secateurs rather than a hedge trimmer. This will allow you to remove whole leaves rather than cut into leaves and cause them to go brown.

Compose your compost

If you’ve been thinking about introducing a compost heap into your garden, then now’s the time to do it. Compost heaps are best created in the summer because the heat helps to break down the waste quicker. For the best results, you need a 50:50 mix of green (nitrogen rich, i.e. grass clippings) and brown (carbon rich, i.e woody stems and cardboard) materials. Be strategic about how you layer them – add materials like twigs at the bottom to aid circulation, then grass cuttings and vegetables on top, then your carbon-rich brown materials – this is a great place to use old coffee grounds, for example. Turn your heap to aerate it and help to speed up the process. If you turn regularly it’ll take about six months for your compost to be ready.

Get savvy with seeds

As your favourite flowers finish for the year, collect and save the seedheads ready for planting in the spring. Choose a dry day to collect them, and then store them in paper bags or envelopes – avoid plastic as this can attract moisture and your seeds may be mouldy by the time you come to plant them!

Pep up peppers

Keep your peppers and cucumbers healthy and thriving by using a high potash fertiliser on them once fruits start to form. For courgettes, harvest them before they become too big, and it’s probably also time to harvest beetroot that was planted in the spring, although this can be left a little longer if you’re running out of space in the salad drawer!

Re-use the rain

No, we’re not wishing for rain or for autumn to arrive, but before they do, it’s worth considering installing a water butt before next season’s rainfall. That way next summer you’ll have plenty of reserves to water your summer flowering plants and containers without needing to untangle the hose or worry about water bills.

Start brushing up

Make the most of the warm, dry weather by working on those painting projects you’ve been putting off. Tidy up fences, sheds and garden furniture – the paint will dry quickly in the sun and the tasks will be over before you know it. It’s also a good time to bring inside projects outside to get them finished – internal doors that need a new lick of paint will be quicker and easier to paint outdoors, and there’s less risk of spilling paint on the carpet/upholstery/kids/dog, too.

Gardenscape, The Wharf, Rye Road, Newenden TN18 5QG, Tel: 0800 854663, gardenscapedirect.co.uk

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