Summer holidays are here and the children are off school – playing football on your lawn and trying not to let the ball flatten your flowers, bless em. Before going away, water well and rely on inclement weather or good friends to water for you. We are advised to save water but water butts are usually empty at this time of year. Grey water is an option, it just takes a bit more effort. A water timer is effective and especially so in the green house. The cheaper ones that are available on line work really well. With ground drying out, mulching will help retain moisture in the soil.
Dry spells in summer do no favours for our lawns so raise the cutting height and allow clippings to stay on the grass. You may have to cut more often but this will help. Try not to use lawn weedkillers at this time, they are a lot more effective in the autumn when it's damper.
We went to Duffryn gardens a couple of weeks ago to see what has been done to the borders at the front of the house. They had been turned into veg patches to show what was done during World War 1. They were really worth seeing as were the rest or the gardens. Staying on the good garden theme, Sylvia’s bungalow on Nant Isaf, as you turn into the village by the Walston Castle, would gladden anyones heart. Not so easy to see are Gerry Crump's and Ieuan Williams' gardens in Rectory Close. They may not thank me for drawing attention to them but I'll take the risk. Wherever you go in Wenvoe at this time of year there are good gardens; the roses at Mr & Mrs Cottle's on Gwenfo Drive or Mr Miller’s well laid out front garden in Grange Close to name just a couple.
It has been a very good year for the roses and ours have given their best show to date. Just keep dead heading and watch out for disease but there is no need to feed them anymore. Make sure you keep the ground beneath roses clear of any fallen leaves as these can harbour disease.
When deadheading in our garden we've been bitten by an irritating little insect which we now know to be a Flower Bug. It's only 4mm in length and in some places has been used to control greenfly and
red spider mite since the nineties. It lives in shrubs at this time of year, is oval in shape and has reflective wings. The bite stings then itches and can be slow to heal.
The R H S has some tips for fruit growers in August. Apple trees that are trained or cordoned should be pruned now to allow light to ripen fruit and for good cropping next year. With summer fruiting raspberries, the canes that bore fruit this year should be cut down to ground level and 6-8 of the new growth canes per plant kept for next year’s fruit. Pot up strawberry runners now for new plants next year. Wisteria needs to be pruned now, it’s usually done February time and then again in Summer.
If some of your favourite plants are producing seed it’s a good idea to collect them. They may not be exactly the same next year, as often happens, but it's well worth trying.
You need to be ordering your spring flowering bulbs now to make sure you have the best choice. If you want Hyacinths for Christmas you will have to order prepared bulbs. Sorry to mention Christmas in August but that’s gardening for you.