August 2014 in the Garden

Glynn SmithBy Glyn Smith Head Gardener at Erddig Hall National Trust Garden.

Here, at Erddig, August is a very busy time. We spend most of this month shearing yew tree, and other sorts of, hedges. Our yew clippings are harvested and sent away for processing by the pharmaceutical industry. There they are used to make ‘Taxol’ an anti-cancer drug, used against ovarian and other cancers. We should get about a tonne of yew, by the time we finish.

Summer bedding should be well settled in after all the rain we have been having. Just to give them a boost, give them a liquid feed. A tomato fertiliser is ideal. Also, keep the plants dead- headed and they will produce many more flowers.

Watch those hanging baskets don’t dry out. Water regularly and include a liquid fertiliser to keep the plants well fed and performing at their best. If you are going on holiday and the baskets won’t get watered regularly, take them down and place them somewhere out of the sun. They can sit on the ground amongst other plants, or on top of flower pots if there are many trailing plants that could be damaged.

Tall Dahlias and Chrysanthemums may need a stake or cane to support the stems. Cut flowers regularly for the house, or dead head faded ones, to keep the plants producing new flowers. Look out for blackfly infestations. Earwigs can also cause damage.

Make sure you harvest plums, other fruit and vegetables. If you have too many, give some away to friends and neighbours.

Sow a packet of leaf salad seeds in a container, or corner of the garden. Try some radishes too. They will be ready for cutting in about a month’s time.

That should help a little with the weekly shopping bill.

You are still just in time to sow pansies, violas, double Bellis daisies and Forget-me-nots, to plant out as spring bedding this autumn. Or, later in the month, you can buy seedling plants to put straight outside in tubs or the border.