Thinking ahead

Ideas for 2013: It is time to start thinking ahead. August is a busy month but, as well as recording what worked and what did not have the wow factor in your own garden, make time to visit other gardens in search of new planting ideas. The more inspiration you can gain now, the easier it will be when it comes to working out budgets and filling in order forms for next year.

Flowers

Dahlias seem a little slow this year; make sure they are well fed and watered. Provide extra support for chrysanthemums, Michaelmas daisies and other herbaceous plants if necessary.

Check for signs of mildew. Update plant records relating to annuals with details of performance, flower quality and fragrance, weather tolerance and resistance to pests and diseases so information is to hand when ordering next year’s seeds and bulbs. Tree lilies from Thompson & Morgan have done well this year — the scent drifts a good distance. Take cuttings of fuchsias, penstemons and osteospermums. Consider in-situ sowing of hardy annuals for flowering next May and June.

Climbers

New stems of roses will need training into shape while they are still soft and pliable. Black spot is problematic this year, with climbers and ramblers especially affected — treat as necessary. Feed any plants growing next to walls and mulch around the stems.

Trees and shrubs

Take note of what needs remedial work this autumn and plan any tree moves so equipment can be ordered in time.

Lawns

Spike worn areas, water, feed and weed. Check the blades and tines on autumn renovation equipment — scarifiers and aerators — and order replacements for any that are damaged or missing. Finalise plans for new grass areas. Source and order new turf and/or appropriate grass seed for use on badly worn areas.

Weed control

Take advantage of rain-free days to treat perennial weeds with weedkiller where appropriate. Keep all mulches topped up.

Kitchen garden

Tie in new stems of raspberries. Feed autumn fruiting raspberries. Finish harvesting gooseberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants. Finish summer pruning cordon and espalier fruit trees by the end of the month. Prepare a seed bed for sowing spring cabbage. Continue harvesting beans. Keep a watch for slug and snail damage — they are proving very active after showers. Update varietal records as to yields, quality and resistance to pests and diseases so information is to hand when ordering next year’s seeds.

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