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Gardener's Diary 

                              August 2008

I try to pass on to gardeners any useful information that appears in the newspapers or on TV, and in July there were two such items.

  • Farmyard manure contaminated with weedkiller residue is causing abnormal growth of vegetable crops throughout the country... Gardeners buying this manure to apply to vegetable crops and gardens are coming across abnormal growth particularly on tomatoes, potatoes and legumes, although ornamental plants such as delphinium, phlox and roses may also be susceptible.
  • And from the BBC News we had the story of aphids killing off leylandii conifers which explains why I have seen so many dead looking hedges locally - BBC News video



If you enjoy gardening and have some time on your hands there is a




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


Patios and other garden areasSummer Patio tub

Our love of flower tubs, garden furniture and barbecues can sometimes lead to accidents. Make sure outdoor living spaces are not too cluttered, especially when entertaining. Make sure your pond, if you have one, is safe especially when young children visit.

Use a spot weedkiller such as Pathclear for patios to eradicate stubborn weeds.



New lawns which have been either turfed or seeded will need to be kept watered during dry spells. Don`t bother watering established lawns, even though they might look awful. They will soon recover once the weather turns wetter and cooler. Remove weeds from lawns and keep the edges neat. This seems to have been a good year for clover, but an application of Verdone Lawn Weedkiller will

soon get rid of it along with many other persistant lawn weeds.


Ventilate tomatoes to guard against leaf-mould. Take cuttings of geraniums (Zonal pelargoniums) and fuschias. Although this is the correct month to take cuttings of pelargoniums, I have always found that overwintering the stock plants and taking cuttings in the spring, produces much stronger plants and I have a 100% success rate! Allow cucumbers to grow horizontally underneath the staging, in the cool..


If you have a lavender hedge it can be trimmed now, but take care not to cut it back to the old wood because it will not regrow.. Cut off the dead flowers and new growth only.


Spray against black spot and start cutting out old wood from established ramblers. Remove suckers at source.

Herbaceous plants

ZinniaContinue to remove faded flowers from all plants including bedding plants, to encourage new growth. Hoe around the plants to remove weeds and freshen up the borders.

Sow annuals directly in the borders for an early and easy colourful display next year. I am doing this more and more, rather than growing the expensive and labour intensive bedding plants. I love the annuals such as godetia, larkspur, cornflowers, nigella etc., which can also be found sold in packets where the flowers have been colour co-ordinated, all ready to 'throw and grow' .. Gardening made easy!

Vegetables and salad

Allotments are back in fashion and with the price of food rocketing many people are now growing their own fruit and vegetables.. We haven't bought any veg or salad for weeks now and next door's tortoise Tommy was the first to sample our home grown cucumbers! It is the first year for our fruit bushes but nevertheless we have enjoyed several pies and crumbles with the blackcurrants and gooseberries.

VeggiesKeep runner beans well watered. Shallots and (last) autumn sown onions are now ready for lifting in the dry weather. Lift and store beetroots. Make another sowing of lettuce. If you grow parsley and it is getting straggly, cut it right back to get some new young growth for the autumn. Did you know you can freeze parsley and mint to use in the winter months? Don't forget to either sow, or buy from the garden centre, parsnip, brussel sprouts, swede and cabbage to see you over the winter months.. Potatoes that have been harvested should be stored in a cool dark place until needed.

Ponds and water features

If you see aphids on the aquatic plants, give them a blast with a hose jet. The fish will love to eat the aphids and you will also have introduced extra oxygen into the pond.


Widex Hearing garden  

Hearing aid wearer and enthusiastic gardener Maria Conway-Moule wears a
blindfold to concentrate on enjoying the natural sounds in the award winning (Best Small Garden) Widex Hearing Garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2008.

Read more here




Happy gardening till next month....


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.



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:-

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...


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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