Wee bit of TLC af­ter your hols

The Galloway News - - DISTRICT NEWS -

Au­gust is usu­ally the month most of us go on hol­i­day and leave our gar­dens to fend for them­selves.

How­ever, 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 all of your hard gar­den­ing work go­ing to waste.

If you travel a fair amount, then it might be worth con­sid­er­ing some plants that need slightly less wa­ter­ing but still look im­pres­sive in flower beds and borders, such as or­na­men­tal grasses.

They pro­vide tex­ture, char­ac­ter and form to any gar­den and de­velop through the sea­sons as bright and colour fo­liage is joined by grace­ful sway­ing flower heads that last well into win­ter.

In large borders grasses can be planted in bold groups or strik­ing drifts but many va­ri­eties per­form well in large pa­tio pots, positioned where their in­di­vid­ual shape and arch­ing form can be fully ap­pre­ci­ated.

Pop­u­lar grasses for pots in­clude com­pact blue fes­cue or taller va­ri­eties such as ze­bra.

By po­si­tion­ing grasses close to paths and seat­ing ar­eas you can run your hands over their feath­ery fo­liage and flow­ers as you pass.

Taller grasses such as the showstoppe­r golden oats add move­ment to oth­er­wise static dis­plays. Or­na­men­tal grasses of­fer great value and va­ri­ety and are plants of the mo­ment in gar­den cen­tres around the UK this month.

Au­gust is usu­ally one of the dri­est months, mak­ing wa­ter­ing es­sen­tial. Try to use grey wa­ter when­ever pos­si­ble, es­pe­cially as wa­ter butts may be run­ning low.

Au­gust is tra­di­tional hol­i­day time, so you might need to en­list the help of friends and fam­ily to look af­ter the gar­den while you are away.

When you are at home, take the time to prune sum­mer flow­er­ing shrubs.

TV gar­dener David Domoney

The hour of hard work is at hand for the owner of a spring meadow gar­den, as the flow­ers have, by now, ripened seed.

If the skills are avail­able, cut it with a scythe. Oth­er­wise, a range of op­tions present them­selves, such as the disc mower, the wheeled scythe and the cord trim­mer, depend­ing on the scale of the op­er­a­tion.

Don’t chop it up, but cut it all off cleanly at the base, then let it lie for a few days to al­low the in­sect life to re­turn to the earth.

RHS

High sum­mer is the best time to get out and en­joy the gar­den – just re­mem­ber to keep ev­ery­thing wa­tered.

How­ever, wis­te­ria needs prun­ing twice a year, in Au­gust and again in Jan­uary, to en­sure good growth and flow­ers next year.

It’s also the ideal month to take cut­tings of woody herbs such as rose­mary, sage and laven­der – mak­ing sure you take new growth that hasn’t flow­ered this year.

Don’t for­get to trim laven­der af­ter it fin­ishes flow­er­ing to en­cour­age bushy new growth in the spring. If you don’t prune them, they will look bare and woody next year.

Coun­try life

If you grow your own then make sure you wa­ter con­sis­tently as ir­reg­u­lar wa­ter­ing can lead to prob­lems with blos­som-end rot in toma­toes, split­ting of root veg­eta­bles and flower-drop­ping in run­ner beans.

Weeds can also com­pete with veg for wa­ter so make sure you re­move them reg­u­larly by hoe­ing.

Sow green ma­nures such as crim­son clover and Ital­ian rye­grass to act as a soil-im­prover and to cover bare ar­eas.

When dug in, they con­serve nu­tri­ents and im­prove soil tex­ture.

Rooted straw­berry run­ners can be planted out and it’s time to prune nec­tarines, apri­cots and peaches af­ter they have fruited and plums, gages and damsons im­me­di­ately af­ter they have been har­vested.

A bit of drive TV gar­dener David Domoney of­fers some tips this month

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