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Gardener's Diary 

                                 August 2010


LavenderIt's a long time since I have seen such marvellous display of flowers as there have been this year; roses and lavender have never looked so abundant and colourful which must be due to the month long heatwave we had.. 

The problem with heatwaves of course is that gardens wilt under the strain and lawns go brown which tends to worry people. But a few showers soon green the grass up again and it is only necessary to water the annuals - perennials will look after themselves.

Do you remember when, several years ago, we were all told to plant up our gardens with Mediterranean plants which would survive the heatwaves we could expect with global warming? It's hardly stopped raining since!






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..

Jobs for the month - August

The Kitchen Garden

The Kitchen Garden section has moved to a separate page, here...


House plants

Keep house plants well watered and misted with a spray to help keep aphids and red spider mite at bay. If you are going on holiday ask someone to look after your plants, but if that is not possible, move them to a shady part of your home, making sure they have ample water. There are self-watering systems available from most good garden centres and DIY stores.


Lawns will still need frequent mowings during August, especially if there has been a lot of rain. If you are going away on holiday, allow the grass cuttings to stay on the lawn for a couple of weeks prior to your trip, which will help keep the lawn moist.

Herbaceous borders

Continue dead-heading, weeding and hoeing to keep the borders looking neat. You can sow many biennials straight into the ground this month; Cornflowers, Californian Poppies, Foxgloves and Sweet Williams, are all good examples and they will get away to an early start next year. Collect seeds from the various hardy annuals you want, jumble them all up and throw them into the borders. The result will be great and you can always thin out those you don't want.


More maintenance this month to keep the pond free of algae and aphids. I always enjoyed blasting aphids from foliage with the hose pipe and then watching the fish eat them. Don't leave the fish to their own devices if you are going away - get a neighbour to feed them and keep an eye on them. If we have a dry spell, (anything is possible!) the water level in your pond can quickly drop and it is essential to top it up slowly, not introducing too much tap water too quickly. The temperature should not fluctuate either.


ChaffinchAnimals of all kinds are already beginning to prepare for the long winter ahead, so be vigilant about feeding the birds, making sure they always have sufficient food and water available. The chaffinch on the left has been a resident in our garden for months now, acting as a sentry and singing his colourful tune whenever we pass by.

I have already noticed some early wasps about in the garden. They seem smaller than usual, but are certainly not the Euro wasp we have been told to watch out for.. Last year there seemed to be more wasps than ever before and I'd rather hoped the last cold winter saw most of them off. Time to make another wasp trap..



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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..

Volunteering with the National Trust

Volunteers are active in all parts of the National Trust, from the new central office in Swindon to the summits of Snowdonia and Divis Mountain near Belfast.

View their latest opportunities, or find out more about the kind of roles and different places you can volunteer:

Still with the National Trust, some of the most visited National Trust properties are now holding regular farmers' and food markets.  Click here for details  and dates.



RHS 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:-

Do you take advantage of the DEFRA 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...


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 special seasonal offers


Some places to 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

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