August in my garden

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Where does time go? I can’t believe I’ve been writing my monthly garden posts for a whole year now, and it’s time to think about August in my garden again already.  But this year will be very different to last year due to the heatwave we’ve been enjoying (or not, as the case may be…)

What’s flowering now?

As you may have noticed from the cover picture, our sunflowers are quite literally celebrating in all the sunshine.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen them grow so tall or so floriferously (yes, that is a word, I checked).  We’re growing three varieties this year: Russian Giant from our Mud and Bloom box, Vanilla Ice from Aldi, and one that Flora brought home from Cubs in June that I have no idea about – but it’s the tallest of the lot.

If June was the time for roses, August is definitely the time for dahlias.  I’ve shared shots of my beautiful Dahlia Roxy on Instagram before, but here’s another one:

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She’s on her fourth year now and gets better every summer.  As do my Blue Bayou dahlias, which the bees adore:

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I’ve mentioned before that I don’t lift my dahlias for Winter, I just cut back before the first frosts, feed with chicken manure pellets, and mulch heavily.  So far so good but it’s not the end of the world if I eventually lose a plant, I can always buy more 🙂

Other favourite flowers, sown from seed earlier this year, are my Cosmos Purity (white) and my Cosmos Rubenza (deep pink).  They make fabulous cutting flowers, all that feathery green foliage means you need very little else in a vase.

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And I love the delicate but vibrant flowers on our Coreopsis, they look so pretty when put together with Cornflowers and Sweet Peas.  Don’t be fooled though, this is a tough plant, it’s even been found growing next to Chernobyl’s nuclear reactor.

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The less said about my Gladioli the better as they seem to have mysteriously and irritatingly turned from purple and white to a salmon orange, which I do not like at all.  It doesn’t fit my garden aesthetic (oooh, get me, haha) and I’ll be digging them up after they’ve finished flowering this year.

Other flowers that are blooming happily include both our white and purple Buddleias,  the night-scented white Hesperis matronalis by the pond, a bright pink Salvia, and my favourite Hydrangea by the front door.

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Earlier this year, I said I was going to have a go at growing edible flowers for our salads and desserts, as well as the self-seeded borage that I freeze in ice cubes.  Well, here they are, doing very nicely among the tomatoes in the greenhouse.  So far we have calendula, cornflower, nasturtium, violas and some more that I can’t identify as yet, having lost the seed box…

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What’s fruiting now?

I’ve been harvesting between four and five cucumbers a week from our three plants and, even though I say so myself, they are delicious.  Sweet, crunchy, and tasty, and totally unlike the plastic-wrapped supermarket fare.  And last night I collected my first small harvest of tomatoes too.  The huge one in the middle was grown from our February Mud and Bloom box, which is a surprise as they were supposed to be cherry tomatoes… The smaller multi-coloured ones are sown from my favourite Thompson & Morgan’s Rainbow Blend seeds, also planted back in February.

I always prune off the bottom leaves of each tomato plant to let light and air get at little green fruits. As more tomatoes ripen, you can prune off more leaves higher up the plant until you’re left with a stem and branches with fruit but no leaves.  Yes, it looks odd, but more of the green will turn red (or yellow, pink and orange in my case).

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Later this month I’m hoping to harvest our first beetroot, radishes and lettuce as well, providing the slugs and caterpillars don’t find them first.

Our apple tree is a very early fruiter, we’ll be harvesting some lovely eating apples within the next few weeks if this sunshine keeps going.  Sadly, we’ve never been able to identify what type it is, so if anyone can shed any light, I’d be incredibly grateful. When ripe, they’re similar to Pink Lady with a slight fizz and taste gorgeous.

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I think the strong winds may have done for our kiwi by knocking off most of the blossom but our pear tree has a good crop coming along, and I’m very excited to have spotted a couple of baby figs.

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Last month I mentioned that our peach tree has fruit for the first time in three years, and I’m keeping everything crossed that enough of them ripen for me to make some yummy jam in September.

Jobs for August

My harvesting, watering and daily flower deadheading to encourage fresh blooms continue.  If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen my salutary tale of falling off the ladder while deadheading and pruning my roses.  Tip: wait for someone to hold the ladder first.

I have enough geraniums, lavender and herbs already, but this month is a good time to take cuttings for propagating more young plants.  And collecting free seeds from favourite spent blooms such as poppies, sweet peas, honesty, aquilegias.

Another favourite job is sitting outside in the evenings with some plant catalogues (Gee Tee Bulb Co, Sarah Raven, Parkers, Crocus, to name a few favourites) a large glass of Mateus Rose and a pen.  Planning my Autumn bulbs haul for next year’s Spring and early Summer flower displays is a very pleasant way to pass an evening.

Wildlife

I feel like I’m repeating myself every month at the moment but with all this dry weather it’s really important to keep topping up your ponds and bird baths.  And to leave a shallow dish of water out for smaller creatures too, such as hedgehogs or mice.

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We had a lovely new fence installed at the bottom of our orchard at the end of July – more space for me to plant shrubs, bulbs, and grow climbers up, yay!  In case you’re wondering why there’s a hole cut in the bottom, it’s for hedgehogs.  We’re very lucky to have the occasional hedgehog visitor to our garden and, as they can travel up to a mile a night in search of food, we want to make sure they have easy access in and out of our garden.  Spooky can use it too (Ginger is too fat and Jester is too old) and our little black cat seems thrilled with his own personal doorway.

My apologies for what has turned into a very photo-heavy post but there’s so much going on that I want to share – I’ll save the rest of my pictures for Instagram though!  August is the month that I can really appreciate all the hard work of the earlier months.  Being able to harvest our own produce and cut my own flowers is what makes everything worthwhile.  Now all I need to do is put that bottle in the fridge…

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Prachi Maulingker Naik
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You have such a lovely colorful garden 😍
Hats off to you for taking all the efforts to maintain it 💕

Cordelia Moor
Guest

Your garden is so gorgeous! Those sunflowers are a total delight, and there really is nothing quite like eating the produce that you’ve grown. Congratulations on an amazing crop.

Cordelia || cordeliamoor.com

Bexa
Guest

What a beautiful and enjoyable post Lisa! Your garden is looking gorgeous, you must work so hard in getting it all looking so nice. Floriferously is now my new favourite word ha ha. The photos of the bee on the dahlia and in the last picture are brilliant, great timing! Wow, those tomato’s look so tasty, I can’t wait to see the lettuce and raddish photos too so I can compare them to the progress mine are making. Thank you for sharing, it’s always interesting to read how you make your garden look so pretty! <3 xx

Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

Susanne
Guest

This really makes me wish that I had a garden as well! It sounds like the work you put into your garden is paying off, it’s beautiful 🙂

what corinne did
Guest

Such gorgeous flowers! So colorful and inviting! and those fruits! oh i wish i had a garden! i am sure the kitten would love a garden too!

Tiffany
Guest

This is such a lovely post Lisa! I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it before so this was so nice to read. Your garden looks absolutely beautiful, so many colourful plants and flowers! We currently live in a flat but I’m desperate for a house with a garden for us to enjoy! Xx

Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

Jas
Guest

Your garden is gorgeous! I’d love to be able to grow so much, and I’m very jealous that you can harvest cucumbers! I love cucumbers!

Sophie
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Sophie

This is such a cute post! I love sunflowers and yours are gorgeous. I love that you take care of the wildlife in your garden too, I love hedgehogs and we always try and look after ours as best we can too!
Soph – https://sophhearts.com x

Laura
Guest

Wow! It’s amazing that your plants haven’t burned in this heat! Lovely photography x

Sophie Wentworth
Guest

Your garden is amazing! I love that you’re seeing the results from the fruits and vegetables in the Mud & Bloom box (I’m going to start counting the number of times I say that). Your apple tree looks amazing too! x

Sophie
http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

Jenny in Neverland
Guest

Fun fact, when I was in playschool, we had a competition on who could grow the tallest sunflower and I won! It was literally over twice the height of me, I was so proud haha! I bet the cucumbers taste delicious, I love cucumber anyway but never grown my own. I’m in awe of all the food you’ve managed to grow, that’s still something I’d still love to try myself. Our garden looks absolutely awful at the moment, literally everything looks like hay because of this heatwave! xxx

Cora @ Tea Party Princess
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I have serious garden envy. I must have the opposite of green fingers as I end up somehow killing everything I try to grow haha. Except for Rosemary. That plant has gone wild.
Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

Ellis Woolley
Guest

Your sunflowers are absolutely stunning Lisa! Also hearing you talk about your fresh veggies has made me want to try & grow my own more than ever after I found maggots in my broccoli that I bought from Tesco yesterday D: I squealed so loud :'( whyyyy! x x
Ellis // http://www.elliswoolley.co.uk

Jennifer | Mrs Q Beauty
Guest

You have such a beautiful garden! I would love to have an apple and pear tree.

Jennifer | Mrs Q Beauty

abbeylouisarose
Guest

You’ve taught me a new word today, Lisa! Floriferously – I love it! Your sunflowers certainly are going from strength to strength in this sunshine – they must be so lovely to see! They are some of my all-time favourite flowers, I find them so cheering to look at! The cucumbers that you’ve been harvesting sound divine, I am a big lover of cucumber sticks with a healthy dollop of houmous although with the fresh and tasty ones from your garden, you probably don’t need an accompaniment! It’s great to see that you’re making your garden welcoming for hedgehogs too,… Read more »

Merkitty
Guest

So many pretty flowers in your garden! I love that you have hedgehogs visit your garden too and have even accommodated their presence by cutting a hole for them. Super cute. ♥

Ms Via
Guest

Lisa I just love your garden posts. Thanks for the photo heavy post. At least we can have a look at the beautiful flowers and fruits and those cherry tomatoes. I always feel you are so lucky to have the opportunity to be close to nature but I also understand the hard work that you must be doing to maintain this beautiful garden. Loved seeing all the pictures Lisa. 🙂

Via | http://glossnglitters.com