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Gardener's Diary August 2006


Sixty fourth edition -  August 2006     

August is a busy month, with preparations to be made for the coming seasons as summer draws slowly to an end.. But do take time out to visit a late summer flower or country show. It will set you up with happy memories for the long winter months ahead.

This month we had yet another wheelie bin delivered by the council; this time it was a brown one for collecting garden waste.. I feel sorry for those people  who only have a small back yard because this growing collection of bins is taking over our outside space! We also have a blue one for paper/plastic etc., and a green one for household waste..

I do agree with recycling though and find making my own compost from recycled garden waste very satisfactory.. There are always items in the garden that won't go on the compost heap though and I'm grateful for this latest acquisition..

PS. Don't worry if your back garden looks like a desert with dried up brown lawns and trees that are dropping their leaves already... Because once the rains come your lawn will soon 'green up' (honestly!) and next season your trees will be as good as new...


An introduction from Rosemary Martin...

I have been gardening now as a hobby for about thirty years, but have no formal training..  I don't have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice, but I also think the modern trends work well. 

This column adds a new dimension to my interest in all aspects of horticulture and will hopefully help others find pleasure in this healthy and therapeutic pastime  ...  

Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife, remembering to tell me which country you are from..  


Click here for previous editions of Gardener's Diary..

 The vegetable garden

Herbs still in flower should be gathered in dry weather for drying and storing. Tie them in bunches and hang them upside down in your garage or shed. Shallots and autumn grown onions might be ready for lifting and more seeds of these varieties can be sown for next year. In the dry weather ensure your runner beans have plenty of water and start picking any early produce. There is still time to sow a last batch of lettuce. I like the Lollo Rosso variety, which I have dotted around the flower borders. Take care to water and continue feeding tomatoes. Our outdoor cherry tomatoes are almost ready for cropping..


Hanging baskets, tubs and window boxes 

In hot dry spells, you will need to water sometimes as often as twice a day. A plant food, such as Miracle gro mixed with water will ensure your flowers get an extra lease of life.. Regular deadheading will help keep the plants flowering profusely.


Lawn care this month is straight forward: a weekly cut or even more if there is a lot of rain causing the grass grow quickly. If your lawn is looking rough and patchy due to poor soil conditions, you may consider applying a top dressing of humus matter in the autumn and/or spring 


Shrubs and flower borders

Keep your borders looking cared for and colourful by continual dead-heading of flowers and hoeing. I have been using Miracle Gro on the flower beds, applying it with the special feeder attached to my hosepipe. This plant food feeds plants through their roots and leaves.




The squirrels will be gathering nuts already in preparation for the barren winter months ahead and some birds will be thinking of their long winter journey to a warmer country, so extra food on the bird table will be welcome for all of these friends that have given so much pleasure through the year.. We have rather spoilt the birds that visit us by giving them sunflower hearts.. It got so that we couldn't keep up with them and were replenishing their three feeders twice weekly, at a great expense.. We have gone back to ordinary sunflower seeds and wild bird mix, but they're not happy!


Ponds and water features


This is a month to enjoy the pleasures of a pond, without any urgent jobs needing attention. Continue feeding the fish their full quota, taking care to get a neighbour to continue this task if you are going on holiday. Give them precise instructions on quantities to feed the fish as too much food if not eaten will rot, polluting the water. 




House plants 



Continue feeding your houseplants this month according to instructions, making sure they are in tip top condition for the winter. If you think re-potting for a houseplant is needed, it can still be done now rather than risk overwintering one that is pot bound. On a warm day put houseplants outside for a fine spray with your hosepipe to clean the foliage. Not woolly leaved plants though!  




A nice easy maintenance job with a hoe this month that will prevent seedlings from germinating and show your neighbours what an industrious person you are!



Amazon book - Gardens of the National Trust. When the National Trust decided to take on the care of gardens, the aim was that these would be the very best of their kind in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Trust now has the finest collection of gardens ever assembled under one ownership..

Climate change: here and now

Climate change is one of the world’s greatest challenges. It is also one of the National Trust's biggest challenges.

The impacts of climate change in the UK are increasingly affecting the historic buildings, gardens, countryside and coast in our care.




The Yellow Book: NGS Gardens Open for CharityRHS gardens

Their four flagship gardens not only provide year-round interest and offer a wide range of courses, talks and demonstrations, they also demonstrate the best gardening practices, new techniques and exciting new plants to try in your garden.

Or go to their website for a diary of all other events at:-

For a full list of RHS flower shows for 2006, see here

Do you take advantage of the BBC Gardening website for information? I find it a valuable source of information, for up to date legislation, countryside matters and useful information such as plant pests and diseases, which saves me ploughing through all my gardening books, with the knowledge that their information is bang up to date...


Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming Please tell me which country you live in as knowing the climate can help me solve your problem. Your current email address is necessary as my replies are occasionally returned to me as undeliverable..


Thompson & Morgan LogoThompson & Morgan 


Visit where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line.  Have a look to see what is new and any special seasonal offers


Some places to visit... 



Visit the Eden Project




The living theatre of plants and people
The Eden Project is a gateway into the world of plants and people. A meeting place for all to discover how we depend on plants and how we can help to manage and conserve them for our mutual survival.


Kew Gardens two locations:-

Tel: 020 8332 5655 (24 hr)
Fax: 020 8332 5197

Royal Botanic Gardens

Tel: 01444 894066 (24 hr)
Fax: 01444 894069

Royal Botanic Gardens
Wakehurst Place
Nr Haywards Heath
West Sussex
RH17 6TN


The National Botanic Gardens of Scotland comprise:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scotland's Premier Garden

Benmore Botanic Garden, Argyll
Argyll's Magnificent Mountainside Garden

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Borders
Wonderful Woodland Garden

Logan Botanic Garden, Galloway
Scotland's Most Exotic Garden

The National Botanic Garden of WalesThe National Botanic Garden of Wales

The star attraction here is the 91 metre long domed glasshouse, that houses landscapes normally found in the Mediterranean. This would be a super place to visit on a chilly day...



Some websites of interest to gardeners:-


Carry on Gardening - The easier gardening web site from ThriveGardening is an important part of many people's lives. You don't have to give up gardening because of accident or illness, the onset of disability or the problems associated with growing older. The information on their website is designed to provide you with the information to Carry on Gardening.

Carry on Gardening was initiated by the horticultural charity Thrive and is funded by the National Lottery Charities Board.  It brings together information on easy ways of gardening gathered over 23 years by Thrive and research carried out since the early 1970s by Mary Marlborough Centre, Oxford, on tools and equipment for disabled and older people. 



Useful reading:-

"The Yellow Book" contains information of all Gardens of England and Wales open for charity, and can be bought priced ?5 from National Gardens Scheme

National Trust Gardens Handbook is ?6.99 and the new edition is out in May  Telephone 01394 389 950 or see their website

Amazon book - A year at Kew  Amazon book - Gardens Through Time: 200 Years of the English Garden Amazon book - RHS Plants for Places: 1000 Tried and Tested Plants for Every Soil, Site and Usage (RHS) Amazon book - RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening: RHS Bi-centennial Edition (Royal Horticultural Society)
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