Gardening with Jim Saul – August

It is tempting when going to a nursery or garden centre to buy the best plant in flower – we have all done it! A week later, when all the flowers have died off , you say to yourself

What did I buy that one for?

Do a bit of homework before you go and ask yourself the following questions:

Is this plant right for my garden? How big will it grow? Is the soil the right type for this plant?Does it need shelter?

Winter is a good time for planning and research.

Quiz Questions:- see if you can recognise these garden phrases…

  1. other people’s lives or situations always seem better than your own
  2. tackle a problem with bravery
  3. to get what you deserve
  4. to stop caring about what you look like
  5. one’s days of youth and inexperience

August tips

When growing runner beans it is important to spray leaves with water each evening to encourage flowers to set so the plants get plenty of moisture. Beans hate drying out so this could be why they are not yet swelling out. When the flowers reach the top of the frames pinch them out  – this will help too. If you go away mulch the base with rotting grass cuttings to keep moisture in and weeds out.

With blackcurrants the fruit appears on the growth made the previous year on mature bushes. Cut out the old branches to the base and clip the rest lightly once the fruit is all picked.

Lift onions when dry and leave them on an old sack to dry out for 2-3 days before bringing in to store.

Is there a sucker in your life?

Go round the garden to check for suckers ( roses, that is!) – a sucker is a shoot coming from the root stock on the base to which the named variety is budded onto (such as iceburg, Whisky mac, Queen Elizabeth etc). Any shoot that grows below the budding union will be a sucker – the leaves are usually a different shape and lighter  in colour. Thorns may also differ – it is pointless to just prune with secateurs as it will just grow back – you need to grip the sucker and give it a sharp tug, which should pull it away from the root stock; this applies to roses and also to shrubs. If left unattended the suckers or rootstock will begin to take over as it is the strongest of the two plants.

Plants of the month

Magnolia Grandiflora

 

Magnolia Grandiflora – don’t mix this up with the spring magnolia, which flowers in March. This one is a majestic shrub, which has large, glossy evergreen leaves. The flowers will come from now until autumn. Grow this on a south or west facing wall and the creamy white flowers can reach the size of a dinner plate so allow plenty of room – it can reach 10m x 10m.

 

Lavendula Hidcote

 

Lavendula Hidcote – There are many lavenders, all with aromatic greyish foliage. Some have white flowers, but most are purple and work well on their own or as a low hedge. Trim below the flowering spikes in early Spring, but don’t prune into the old wood. These are good for dry soil and attract bees and are butterfly-friendly.

 

 

Answers:-

  1. the grass is always greener
  2. grasp the nettle
  3. to reap what you sow
  4. go to seed
  5. salad days

Gardener Jim Saul

 Jim Saul Pembrokeshire Gardening – available for garden maintenance or professional advice

                                                                                             

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