It’s holiday time but do not ignore the garden. If you are going away, take a little time to prepare the garden first. A little bit of forethought will make sure that your garden stays looking good and is in good condition when you return. Pick all ripe fruit and vegetables, freeze or give them away to friends. Cut the lawn and give the flowerbeds a quick weeding so that they will stay in reasonable condition until you return. Move planters into a cooler spot and water them thoroughly. Consider using extra watering aids to maintain moisture levels. In the greenhouse, place plants on moist capillary matting connected to a container of water. Ideally, ask a neighbour or a friend to call by while you are away and keep a check on plants and pick any ripening crops.
Sunny days are often interspersed with a sudden rainstorm in August. Keep a check on tall plants such as tomatoes and delphiniums, providing additional staking where necessary. Heavy rain can dash down flower stems and wash fruit from stems, which is why regular picking of black currents, white currents and blueberries is essential. High temperatures and high levels of moisture in the air can turn fruit mouldy so take care to remove any fruit that shows signs of decay.
Remove deadheads from annual plants such as marigolds and tagates to encourage flowering to continue into the autumn. Floribunda and hybrid tea roses also need deadheading regularly.
Keep watch on planters to make sure that they are not getting too dry. Gently pierce the soil in the planter with a hand fork or trowel to check that all the soil is moist, not just the soil on top. If first aid is necessary – plunge the pot into container of water to thoroughly wet the compost. Do this overnight while the temperatures are coolest.
As the month progresses, the first early apples begin to ripen and trees should be checked regularly. But take time to relax and enjoy the pleasure of the summer garden as flowers bloom, birds sing and bees hunt for pollen.