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Gardening Advice Blog

Welcome to the CountryLife Gardening Blog, written by our horticulturist to provide you with the best tips & advice for all things gardening!  We have been shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category. 

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Gardening in August

by User Not Found | Jul 31, 2014

Summer is coming to close so start preparing your garden for autumn. Spend the last sunny days in your garden enjoying the weather.


Flowers

Deadheading. Dead head and feed your bedding plants such as Dahlia and Penstemon with tomato food or an all-purpose feed such as Miracle gro. This will prolong the flowering right into early autumn. Hardy geraniums can be cut back a little to remove tired leaves and encourage a new flush of growth.

Look after your hanging baskets and window boxes - deadheading, watering and feeding with tomato food  will help them last through until the first frosts in October. Check them regularly for pests especially aphids. Spray them with a garden hose to knock the majority of insects off them and treat the plants with a general insecticide such as Bug Clear to keep pests at bay.

Keep your flowers tidy. Remove any dead wood from your shrubs and climbers. This helps redirect the plant’s energy into producing more growth and also gives it the space to do so. You can also cut back unsightly dead flower stems on early flowering perennials. This will encourage a second flush of flowers and tidy the plants. You can leave the seed heads on some plants as these can add character to the garden in the cold winter months.

Fill in the gaps in pots, beds, borders and planters with mature bedding specimens.that are available now.

Towards the end of August hardy annuals and perennials can be sown directly into borders or into pots/trays. They will flower next summer.

Trees & shrubs

Pruning and training. Roses are not the only plants that need pruning. Early summer flowering shrubs and climbers such as Spirea and Wisteria can be lightly pruned after flowering to tidy them up. You can also dead head lavenders or trim the flower stems back to the foliage after flowering.

Roses. Spray your roses for pests and diseases such as aphids, greenfly, black spot, mildew and rust with Rose Clear. Cut back any stems with dead flowers to a node further down the stem. This will help to prolong flowering. Cut back any over grown shoots to keep the uniformity of the plant. Feed them with a slow release rose food every 4-6 weeks.  If roses are well looked after, most varieties will flower up to first frost.

Fruit and Veg

You still need to protect your fruit from birds. Use netting to protect blackberries, raspberries and other berries. Cut down the fruiting stems of summer raspberries after you harvest the fruit from them. Summer raspberries produce fruit on new stems every year.

Make sure  to keep fruiting plants and trees well watered to encourage well shaped healthy fruit.

Now is a good time to prepare your onions for harvesting. The  green stems of onions fall over when they are near harvesting. When this happens reduce watering and twist down the stems so the stems dry out. Lift the onions after about 2-3 weeks and leave them on the ground to dry out for a further 2 weeks, if the weather is good. If the weather is wet put them in a well-ventilated shed. The dried brown stems can be platted and hung in a dry shed for use over the winter.

Continue to sow salad crops such as lettuce, rocket, spinach radish, spring onion etc. these will stay going well into autumn. There are plants available if you prefer the more instant approach.

Don’t let your fruit and veg plants dry out! Water crops regularly in the morning/evening, especially during spells of hot weather.

Around the Garden

Lawn care. Feed you lawn if you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to treat it for weeds and moss. But wait until rain is forecast so the fertiliser is washed into the soil where the roots can access it. If you have a small lawn it is a good idea to remove flower heads of weeds by hand before they go to seed and multiply.

Now is a good time to install a water butt or two. Connect it to the down pipes of your house/ shed so you maximise the amount collected. Not only will you be helping the environment but you will save money when water charges come in…AND plants prefer to drink rainwater!

Buy or build compost bins to help recycle all your kitchen and garden waste. If you have never composted before here is our guide on how to do it. http://countrylife.ie/blog/blog/2013/09/19/composting-an-introduction#sthash.4PBOuH4r.dpbs

Give hedges a final trim over now. They will only grow a little before cold weather stops growth. Give them a feed of poultry manure pellets that will keep them happy until spring, roughly about a ½ cup per plant.


Jean’s Bio 
 
Hi my name is Jean, I am a horticulturist with CountryLife in the Ashford branch. I grew up on a farm where we always had a veg garden, so you could say that horticulture and agriculture is in the blood! I studied Landscape Horticulture in UCD and worked part-time in Fernhill Garden Centre, Athlone while I was in college. After graduating I worked in Landscape Architecture for three years before returning to the Garden Centre trade. I began in Keane’s Garden Centre, Kilcolgan, Co Galway and returned to Fernhill Garden Centre for three years before joining CountryLife.  Being a horticulturalist is a great job, you are surrounded by nature every day and there is always something to be done. Meeting customers and giving the advice is very rewarding especially when they report back positive results. I love growing my own fruit and veg and I’m always trying new varieties and ways of growing. The seasons are always changing and while the weather is challenging in Ireland, I believe we grow the best produce in the world.