Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Gardener's Diary             August

Gardener`s Diary is a regular feature of run by Rosemary Martin.

An introduction from Rosemary...    

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..



Fortieth edition - August 2004

July was a very wet and cold month for us in the UK, but the countryside looks wonderfully green and lush because of it. The plants in our gardens have put on an extra spurt too, with the added benefit of not needing to spend hours watering plants to keep them looking good.. And of course we British do love to talk and moan about the weather..

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 cold winter months ahead..  


Wildflower seed mixtures..

Last year a colleague from mentioned that she had bought some exceptional seed to plant up a paddock area of her garden. The seed was from Pictorial Meadows, who sell wildflower seed mixtures that are suitable for use in a wide range of situations from small scale domestic use to large commercial plantings The mixtures are designed to produce beautiful and uplifting meadow-like sheets of colour, providing high quality, very long-lasting and cost-effective flowering displays. They overcome many of the problems that are often associated with creating meadows from seed, such as unreliable germination, short flowering season, untidy appearance and the need to sow on low-fertility soils. Have a look at their website:   Pictorial Meadows ... Wildflower seed mixes are also `Bumblebee friendly`!

Here is the result for this year, which she is delighted with:-



Seems they are finally thinking about older gardeners, with this product...

EnvirOmower; Cordless electric environmentally-friendly lawn mower...
No more arm-yanking cords or power leads. You'll never need petrol or oil again with the ENVIROMOWER; an environmentally friendly, cordless battery-powered lawn mower. FREE DELIVERY in the UK.

To buy one, go to

Jobs for the month - August




This information I gave for July also applies to August, so I shall leave it here for a further month..  

Look for aphid damage, red spider mite, mealy bug and any other unwanted visitors, and spray immediately. Don`t forget to make provision for your houseplants if you are going away. There are several types of capillary matting in the garden centres that you can stand the plants on, or even soaked newspaper in a bucket. Failing all else, put your well watered houseplants in the coolest room in the house with drawn curtains or blinds and they will easily cope for a couple of weeks.






Clean off any bulbs that were lifted and stored earlier in the season, in readiness for re-planting. New season bulbs will be arriving at the garden centres, but do try and plant them as soon as possible after getting them home. If this is not possible, store them in a cool dark shed that has good air circulation, to prevent mildew.





The wet weather has encouraged good strong growth this year, but I am also getting reports of `fairy rings` and have a couple of them in my own lawn.. I have decided that as they are unsightly but not a menace, I will just rake off the toadstools with a lawn rake and put up with them.  Don`t cut the grass too short this time of year. This season I have left the cutting blade on the mower higher than previous years and the lawn is looking better for it.




Make sure that plants in the greenhouse have adequate ventilation and are shaded from too much sun. Maintain humidity to avoid red spider mite by damping down with the hosepipe. Shade cucumbers from hot sun. Regular watering of your tomatoes will avoid `Blossom end rot`




The final cut of the year for hedges should be in September, as they will not grow in cold weather. Check there are no birds still nesting in your hedge.



Fruit and veg




Support heavily ladened branches of plums trees as they tend to snap off. Start picking apples and plums. Lift onions and shallots and hang to dry in a shed if it is too wet to leave them outside. Continue sowing vegetables such as spring cabbage and turnip, and you still have time to sow some quick salad crops for this year..





Flowers for cutting


Continue to train sweet peas up their supports. Deadhead annuals to encourage further flowers.  Collect seeds from hardy annuals such as cornflower, nigella and larkspur, so they can be sown directly in the ground in the autumn. Cut flowers for the house to encourage more growth.


Herbaceous plants


Cut back the foliage on flowers such as delphiniums that are finished. This is a good time to take cuttings of tender perennials in case the winter kills the parent plant. Keep the borders weed free and mulched and watch out for signs of disease or pests on your plants.



Ponds and water features


Remove blanket weed with a stick, taking care not to include any wildlife. I love this job, it is somehow very therapeutic! Tidy any plants that are past their best and continue feeding the fish. Keep the water level topped up in case of evaporation in very hot weather. Clean the moss and algae off your water feature and make sure there is sufficient water in the pump chamber.





It seems to have been a busy year for the birds, with many of them producing many clutches of young. Don`t feed the birds during the summer months as there is an abundance of natural food in the garden for them to feed their young on, which is much more beneficial for them. Take care when pruning shrubs for the autumn as some birds may still be raising a late brood of youngsters..


If you like birds, here is the website for you...




Malvern Autumn Garden & Country Show

: :  

25 - 26 September 2004

Wisley Shows

: :  

April, June and August

RHS London Flower Shows

: :  



Some of your recent gardening queries

Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming (Please tell me which country you live in - knowing the climate helps me solve your problem)

Laterlife is pleased to support the project below:-

Designed to stimulate the senses and provide a haven of peace, a place to chill-out and unwind from the stress of modern living. A garden designed specifically to be "Positive About Disabled People" and raise funds for people with Multiple Sclerosis.

Take a virtual trip around the garden, through different countries, its monthly photo galleries & artwork, explore and discover the plants, birds and wildlife, water features and wind-chimes, as we endeavour to describe the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch of the various areas. 

We hope you enjoy your visit to the Sensory Garden Project  


And 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 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...



Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming

Have a look at previous editions of Gardener`s Diary



Some websites of interest to gardeners:- 


Alan Titchmarsh MBE, TV gardener, writer, broadcaster and thoroughly nice person. Just a few choice words to describe him. See his website....



Thompson and Morgan: 


A growing resource for gardeners worldwide. The site includes the international online seed catalogues, the young plants catalogue (UK only), the wholesale seeds catalogue, together with the award winning Germination Times and a host of other useful information.


Gardening 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. 







Good 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

RHS Garden Finder is 12.99 from Dorling Kindersley




Back to laterlife today

Site map and site search


Advertise on