For me, the garden in August is always a time for reflection. It’s a little less heavy in terms of regular jobs, so you can look back at what has already flowered in the year, and see the promise of what is still to come. You can see what has worked well and what needs a bit of tinkering with to achieve what you’re aiming for. Because gardening is a never completed job – there’s always something that you want to tweak here and there. So please forgive this post for it’s lack of pretty pictures – it’s more a reflection on what I want to improve next year rather than what’s gone well this year!
Cottage Garden vs. Natural Planting
My main feeling on looking at my garden at the moment, is that there are two distinct styles to my garden: the more natural planting of the mediterranean border, and my most recently planted border (which I’ve christened Fox Corner), and the more cottage garden feel of the Long Border, with it’s lupins, roses, and phlox. I’ve always struggled to decide which of these styles is really my preference, and as a result, it’s almost like my garden has a split personality.
Over the next year, I’m going to aim to bring the two styles together a little more, by mirroring some of the plants on the ‘natural’ side on the ‘cottage’ side, in the hope that this will bring more unity. I’m going to move two of the lavender over, and also some sedum and echinacea. One plant that seems to perform spectacularly wherever I put it is Geranium Rozanne. I love it’s abundance of purple flowers and I’m going to divide these and pop them around the roses in the Long Border. Geraniums and roses are a pretty classic combination, I can’t believe I’ve not thought of it before!
Although the ‘natural’ side of the garden is still in it’s first year, I feel that the planting was far more considered and I can see how it’s starting to take shape. I love the texture and movement of the Stipa Tenuisissima grasses, and the pop of colour from the pink echinacea which is just starting to bloom in the shot below. The campanula lactiflora in the front is just starting to bloom now and I’m hoping that we get another show from the Salvia Nemorosa Caradonna at the back later in the year.
I’m hoping that this mirroring of plants will also solve my other issue that I see with the cottage border – I’ve been so focused on having something in bloom all of the time, that it’s become rather bitty. First the muscari and the primroses would bloom, then the lupins, the allium, the roses, and finally the phlox. But nothing was ever quite blooming with another plant to really tie the whole scheme together. At the moment, there is just the purple phlox and some tired looking white roses, and an awful lot of gaps. I think it’s fair to say that it looks a bit tatty.
I struggle a little with the width of the border from the path to the fence – at less than 1m wide, it’s too shallow to really plant more than one plant in front of another. Ideally I would be taking a pneumatic drill to the concrete path but realistically i think that’s a job that will have to wait a few years. So I’m hoping that by bringing in the geraniums to partner the roses, which will naturally spread out in the front part of the border, mirroring the opposite planting a little, and by repeating plants down the border, this section will start to tie together a bit more.
The Vegetable Garden
After all of our issues with the raised bed and the flooding, we’ve had a marvelous crop of beetroot! It’s lucky I love beetroot as I feel we’ve been eating warm beetroot salads for a while now, and we still have plenty in the bed to harvest. I’m thinking about things that we can plant now to still make use of the bed for the rest of this year – I’m thinking either onion sets going in more towards the Autumn, or try my hand at French beans now.
My potatoes in bags have also been quite successful – enough of a crop to make a huge potato and chorizo salad to take down to a BBQ last weekend. I’m really pleased with how easy these were to grow – I’ll definitely be doing this again next year!
Jobs for the Garden in August
- Prune wisteria
- Don’t forget to water containers daily in warm weather, and feed once a week with a seaweed / tomato feed
- Remove flower stalks and prune lavender plants in the second half of August to stop them becoming woody
- Look out for strawberry runners to lift and pot up