August 2015: A Moseley Garden

Saturday, 3rd October 2015

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August really should be the month that we all kick back and enjoy our gardens more than any other month. Kids are off school, the sun is out (well if we are lucky), the evenings are warmer and the mad growth spurt all our gardens undergo in June and early July should have started to slow. But even those with carefully planned gardens will be hard at work ensuring things don’t get out of hand.

Hedges will need pruning, grass cutting, weeds controlled and spring and early summer flowers and shrubs can be cut back to make way for late bloomers. Often I hear complaints about how “our garden only looks good in spring”, “everything has got out of hand and I didn’t know where to start’” or even “my pots and baskets have already finished and it’s only July”

I thought it would be a good idea to share my thoughts on what is the important work to do in your garden this summer holiday.

1. Grow your own lettuces and greens.  It is not too late to sow rocket, coriander and lettuces. However I do cheat when things are busy and buy the small living salad greens from Aldi and Lidl. They have full roots on them and can be divided up and planted into pots to turn into full sized lettuces in late summer. You can of course tell your friends they were carefully grown from seed!

2. Love your hedges.  Most people hack and cut back their hedges in July and August but how many of you give them food and water as they recover?  Feed them using pelleted poultry manure or Growmore pellets and water them thoroughly when it’s dry and hot. If they are established the watering is less important but they will thicken and be far healthier if they are fed and watered, especially if they have been cut back hard.

3. Hack your hanging baskets. If your hanging baskets and annual pot plantings are looking past their best, an old trick that works brilliantly is to cut the whole lot back hard, top dress with some additional compost, granular feed and water regularly. Annuals like lobelia, geranium and petunias will come flying back at you if renovated like this. To extend the season even further water twice weekly with tomato (potash rich) feed and deadhead regularly.

4. Do not cut your grass too short! Turf gets really stressed in midsummer and cutting it too short can be devastating. Mowing regularly is fine as long as you are only removing a small amount off the grass at a time. A mistake we all make is to leave it for 2 or even 3 weeks and then scalp the poor grass. Watering and feeding the lawn will help even if rain is due. Some of these nitrogen rich products really do green the turf up, so ideal if you have a party in late August. It may take 10-12 days to work so don’t leave it too late.
5. Get This. My new favourite annual Cleome Spinosa illustrated here which is available from

Enjoy the holidays…