August Time to BBQ or plan for next year?

So why has a garden article about August have a lot of advice about September………. Confused?

Here’s the answer:

While most people will still be deciding when will be the best date to hold a summer BBQ finale? The smart gardener will be making plans for autumn, if they haven’t already.

The Limousin August gardenAs many of us know or will have found out, July and August are hot, the ground is like concrete and apart from the salad and vegetables growers, many of us may want to enjoy our garden in a different way.

July and August in the Limousin is the time when we protect and prolong what we have been cultivating (flowers, plants, shrubs and the lawn) in the garden.

September will arrive shortly and will provide us with a very brief window of opportunity that many fail to recognise.

How many times have we said to ourselves ’I’ll move that back end’ only to say the following spring ’Pity it didn’t take’ does this sound familiar?.

Back end is tricky at the best of times and the reason is what time do we move things? Most will say before the first frost and I totally agree, but, when does first frost arrive in the Limousin? So what is a Limousin ‘First frost’?

Last year for most of the residents of the 19200 and 87500 area‘s respectively, a first frost arrived on Saturday the 4th of October when we awoke to a sunny -5 degrees.

The previous year, we had to wait until nearly mid December for a numbing -7 to arrive.

Remember; get to know where you live. There will be people who will say, ‘yes I live in the Limousin and we had nothing like that’, alternatively some will say, ’-5 you were lucky’.

The Limousin August gardenJust be aware of the difference between a UK ’first frost’ and a Limousin ‘first killing frost’. In the respective postal areas mentioned above the killing frost arrived approximately 20 days later and it slowed things down considerably.

Having said all that, there’s still some work in August to do for those of us that want it.

August to do list

Garden Design Tree Surgeons and Landscaping

Garden design, if you have not yet had your garden designed for next year, the sad news is you’re too late.

You may capitalise on looking at what can be achieved for next spring, but, that is as far as it goes for now and with limitations. Now is the time to book your designers for 2010 and 2011.

Book your Tree Surgeon as soon as possible, as there are certain trees that need certain work, at certain times.

As there is no mistake that September, October, November and December is a tree surgeons busiest time for those very reasons.

If you have planned where new boarders and hard landscaping are to take place in your garden for next year.

tree surgery and garden planingNow is the time to book either the hire of the machinery you will require (if you are going DIY) or alternatively employ an artisan to carry out the work for you, if you can find one at this late stage.

Remember to have adequate materials on site prior to starting if going down the DIY route.

Aim for around early to mid September to start and early to mid October for the work to be completed.

The earth should be considerably easier to dig and move around the garden and the weather should also be cooler for working in, hence making it quicker and cheaper.

You also need to plan what plants you want and where to arrange them in the new boarders. Do not be rushed into trying to fill the boarder at the first attempt. Especially if you are unsure of what to plant, or, you cannot find the right variety, or, colour you want, or, you have been beaten by the weather (by all means do, if you want to).

But a safe option is to remember that annuals can always be planted as a stop gap for next season, if your criteria has been thwarted.

Bulbs

The Limousin August gardenStart searching the bulb catalogues and decide what you would like to display for a lengthy next spring show. Remember, It will soon be time for planting and follow the rule of thumb that ’buy early and biggest is best’ when it comes to bulbs.

Do not be tempted to leave it till they come down in price, you may end up buying bulbs that are small and of a poor quality, i.e. waste of time and money.

Plant autumn-flowering crocus, colchicum, sternbergia and other autumn – flowering bulbs as soon as they become available at garden centres.

Crocus and sternbergia need full sun; colchicum can be planted in areas receiving light shade.

Perennials

Start to look at where you want either autumn, new or more importantly additional stock planting, by this I mean autumn is the best time to divide existing plants and re-plant hence the term additional stock. You may also want to consider winter flowers or bulbs next to your perennials.

Peonies, bleeding heart, and oriental poppies grow better if left undisturbed, so consider working around them to minimise disturbance, but maximise their show.

Though, if you have got to move the oriental poppies, now is the time, along with dividing and replanting bearded iris and rhizomes.

Planting

Sow perennial seeds such as Shasta daisy, coreopsis, columbines and black-eyed Susan.

Now is also a good time to consider sowing various autumn – winter flower seeds such as, Calendulas, Iceland poppies, primrose (English or Obconica), pansies, violas, snapdragons, stock or forget -me-nots

The Limousin August gardenLate-blooming perennials, such as Helianthus, Helenium, Heliopsis, and Rudbeckia, make great colour displays for the autumn landscape.

Order your peony roots now for planting in September. Plant about a month before the average first frost date
in your area. Planting should be completed before the first killing frost occurs.

Maintenance

Keep feeding your chrysanthemums until their buds swell and begin to open.

Flower and plant beds, may need a new layer of mulch or organic matter such as ground bark, compost and grass clippings to keep down weeds and help hold in moisture.
As a last resort leaves can be used, the problem is that they can be a little unsightly and take a long time to break down, but, it is another option.

The usual suspects such as your annuals and roses need watering, feeding and dead heading. Roses also need their hips removing (do it quickly). Also pick up any rose petals that have fallen to ground, the reason being is that they could have a multitude of pests that are going to find a new home right next door to your roses, they have also been known to harbour disease. This also applies to peonies as well, if you have the later showing varieties and watch your early’s next year.

As always water early and use a sprinkler head that delivers a large droplet compared to a fine mist. The reason being is that water evaporation is less with a big droplet compared to a fine mist. The same goes for your lawn, big droplets please. Check your hose for leaks, leaks cost money, your money.

fruit treesAs always, water well before applying pesticides, drought stressed plants will burn and do not react well to the chemical.
Remember to use the pesticide after the bees have gone to bed, please!!!

Compost heap a little dry? Not surprising in this weather, don’t try to add to much water. Compost is a wonder of nature use some Comfrey leaves, as they contain nitrogen that assists in the break down of dry compost.

Fruit trees will be baring its fruit, so harvest on a daily basis for the best fruit and to reduce fruit fall. Fruit fall will happen naturally if the fruit is not harvested. And it will also occur for another number of reasons as well, these reasons being disease and pests.
Any fruit fall with any sign of disease or pest should be disposed of in the bin. Do not put it in with your compost; this is to reduce the risk of contamination.

Remember to keep your garden journal up to date. By adding photographs you will have a visual reference to look back on when deciding what to put where next spring.

All that’s left to do now is put your feet up, enjoy your garden and plan a date for that last summer BBQ.

The Limousin August garden BBQ

Well that is it for now, happy gardening and see you next month.
Mark

Article kindly provided by Mark from Oak Garden Services

You can contact Mark directly if you would like more information on gardening or the services they offer

Tel: 05 55 98 62 03
Email: [email protected]

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