We are already half way through the month of August and there is a hint of autumn in the air already. Well, definitely on a day like today. It is cool, rainy and blustery. The leaves are falling already, especially after the early hot summer we had. On a nice sunny day the garden is still at its height and the colour seems to be very intense this year, especially the blue, yellow and whites. So I will concentrate a bit more on our flower garden display for this blog.
The blue of the Agapanthus, the African Lily, in combination with white flowering Crinum x powellii ‘Album’, the Crinum Lily, work well together with the colours of the Head Gardeners House as the backdrop. The shade of paint on the building is called Capri or as we call it Victorian Green.
Pic1 African and Crinum Lilies in front of the Head Gardeners House
The blue flowering Lobelia ‘Chrystal Palace’ and the yellow blossom of Tagetes tenuifolia ‘Golden Gem’ are giving a strong contrast in the Flower Garden and underline the formality of the Victorian Garden. The lighter blue of the Hydrangeas compliments the Capri colour of the main gate and the dark plum shades of the ornamental Prunus ceracifera ‘Pissardii’ work well with the Canna in the small circle bed and the red bricks of the surrounding garden wall.
So it is always important to not just look at the single bed planting but at the overall look of the garden which is not always the easiest if the weather and plant quality does not play along.
Pic2 Annual summer bedding in formal flower garden
On the way up to the Vinery the long Ribbon beds are coming into bloom now. There are our main flowering beds in the later season.
Fuchsia ‘Tom West’, Anaphalis triplinervis and Sedum spec.’Brilliant’ would be the main flowering plants for this time of year. They keep flowering until nearly the end of October.
Pic3 Fuchsia ‘Tom West’ and Anaphalis triplinervis (Pearl Everlasting) in the Ribbon beds
Pic4 Ribbon beds leading up to the Vinery
On the north slope in the formal flower garden we have the ‘Snake’ beds, so called because of their unusual shape.
They have an edging plant of Lobelia ‘Chrystal Palace’ but a center planting of yellow Tropaeolum ‘Golden King’ with an interplanting of Antirrhinum ‘Black Prince’ and ‘Brighton Rock’, different heritage varieties of Snapdragons.
Pic5 Snake beds
Pic6 Snake beds in the distance through the branches of the Monkey Puzzle tree.
Our D-beds at the Parterre, also called after their shape…, have a taller center planting since positioned in a leveled bed.
The early summer heat was very much in favour of specific plants like Amaranthus caudatus, Love Lies Bleeding, or the white flowering Lavatera ‘Mont Blanc’ which would not flower half as good without the heat.
To the back right is the back wall of a former Vinery visible, one of the original 21 glasshouses.
Pic7 White Lavatera, maroon flowering Amaranthus and grey leaved Senecio
Otherwise the gardeners are busy at each corner of the garden.
A lot of harvesting and replanting in the Vegetable Garden is going on. The onions are been taken out and left on the plot for drying and the garlic is hanging up in the glasshouse, also for drying. They will be sold bit by bit at our Vegetable sale.
Pic8 Garlic drying off in glasshouse
The first Runner and French beans were also harvested, the french beans especially need a lot of heat and sun to do any good.
We will harvest Beetroots and the main crop potatoes next and new beetroots will be planted at the same time. The empty potato plots will get either green manure or a planting of different chards, spinach or lettuces.
Pic9 Runner beans ‘Cosse Violet’ (dark) and ‘Bluelake Stringless’ (green)
It is hard to believe that the summer is nearly over, it seems like that busy times pass much faster!
Below are my usual garden tips, just in case you are not busy enough at the moment.
Your Head Gardener
Things you can do in your garden in August:
To Sow / Propagate:
~ Sow Green manures in empty vegetable plots
~ Start to sow spring bedding for next year like Bellis, Forgetmenots, Stocks
~ Take cuttings of non flowering shoots of Fuchsia, Pelargonium and Hydrangea
~ Last sowings of overwintering crops like leaf beet, beetroot, mizuna
~Spring cabbages for overwintering
~ second sowing of Beetroot
~ Plant and water shrubs or perennials left in pots
~ Plant out more catch crops like lettuce and spring onion
~ Onions, Garlic
~ Courgettes and Marrows
~ Last of Potatoes
~ Lettuce, Spinach, Leaf beet, Cabbage, Kale, Beetroots
To maintain & prune & feed:
~ Dead head summer bedding and herbaceous plants once a week
~ Cut back bolting vegetables like Spinach, Leaf beet, Kales etc.
~ Prune summer fruiting raspberries (cut out this year’s fruiting stems, leave new shoots)
~ Summer pruning of apples and pears, especially wall fruits
~ Pruning of Plums and Cherries (Don’t prune in winter to avoid silver leaf disease)
~ Clear first leaves of lawns and paths