August in the garden

By Glyn Smith Head Gardener at Erdigg 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.

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.

Tall Dahlias and Chrysanthemums may need a stake or cane to support the stems. Cut flowers, or dead head faded ones, to keep the plants producing new flowers. Look out for black fly infestations.

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.