News and announcements from Grosvenor Garden Centre, Chester


Archive for August, 2012

Gardening Tips for August

Schools have finished for the summer and we hope to have at least a few sunny days to enjoy the great outdoors this month so why not take the opportunity to share your gardening knowledge with the younger members of the family and introduce them to the fabulous world of gardening?

Encouraging children to sow seeds and care for their own plants or a small area of the garden really will give them something to share with their friends and talk about after the holidays – and will provide you with the perfect excuse to drag them away from the television and games console for some all-important fresh air!

This holiday month is usually when most of us head to the sun or at least a couple of weeks away from the home and garden.  You don’t need to worry that all your hard work in the garden will be undone as long as you prepare before you go.  The main point to remember is to arrange for your planted containers to continue to receive enough water regularly and unless you can ask a neighbour, a watering system will be your best bet. 

Remember to dead head all your flowering plants on your return.  By deadheading all your bedding, baskets, pots and planted containers, you will revive your garden to boost growth and encourage fresh buds for the remainder of the flowering season.

Your garden will be full of colour now especially with your late flowering perennials such as Michaelmas Daisy and Dahlias.  These should continue to enhance your garden with glorious colour until the first frosts arrive.

Colour will also be offered from shrubs including Buddleia, Rose of Sharon and Hibiscus.  The Buddleia in particular will attract a variety of butterflies to your garden to enjoy the nectar.

You can also get a head start on your autumn garden this month by planting bulbs such as Amaryllis Belladonna, Colchicums and Madonna Lily.  Other lilies will be planted later in the year.

Evergreen hedges should be clipped into shape this month. 

It is time to take cuttings from your favourite summer flowering plants this month.   Berberis, Cotoneasters and Escallonias are ready now and some evergreens too. 

Your lawn will still need to be mown regularly and keep an eye on potential weeds.  Towards the end of the month, your lawn will benefit from a feed and aerate ready for the autumn.

Your Edible Garden will be supplying your dinner table with fresh potatoes – which varieties did you choose?  If you have not grown your own potatoes before, you will be amazed at the difference in taste of the more unusual varieties. Beans, such as broad beans, climbing French and runner beans.

Sunday lunch will taste much better if you have grown your own vegetables and this month your plate should be bursting with a variety ready for harvesting just now.  You should have potatoes, broad beans, climbing French and runner beans, will all be ready for harvesting together with courgettes too.  Of course, you will have plenty of salads to choose from and delicious, tasty tomatoes.  Mmmm! In fact, if you sow more salad leaves now and continue to do so every couple of weeks or so, your Edible Garden should provide you with salads throughout the autumn.  
Make sure you pick over your vegetables every few days to encourage a bountiful crop and pick your soft fruits as they ripen.  Watch for greedy birds and wasps who are both inclined to steal the juicy fruits!

Finally, autumn is approaching and the days are already getting shorter so let’s keep our fingers crossed for a good spell of sunshine to end the summer and help us enjoy our gardens that little bit longer.

Our August Plant of the Month - Phlox

Commonly flowering from mid-summer to late autumn, our Plant of the Month, the Phlox is one of life’s treasures.  From such a traditional, well loved species, many Phlox plants are perfect for use in your rockery.

A less structured plant than some, the Phlox suits the wilder form of a cottage garden and compliments herbaceous or mixed border planting arrangements.

Sweetly scented flowers of white ranging to pink, purple and blue hues, the Phlox is just as good for indoor flower arrangements and is a great attractant of bees and those all important beneficial insects.

Prepare your soil well before planting with a rotted compost or manure and choose a sunny spot preferably although it can thrive in a partly shaded location.  The Phlox has the added benefit of being fully hardy too – and therefore covered by our five year hardy plant guarantee!

As an upright, tall plant, the Phlox paniculata (a perennial border Phlox) in particular will need to be supported by a stake especially when planted alongside other herbaceous perennials.

As always, keep your Phlox looking its best by deadheading any faded blooms regularly.  This will encourage new growth and extend the length of time the plant will flower.

Once flowering has finished for the year which could be towards the end of autumn, cut each stem right back to the base of the plant.  Make a note in your diary to add well rotted manure at the first signs of spring for good growth next year too.

There are plenty of species and cultivars to choose from in the Phlox family so take your pick from plants best suited to pots and containers, to those perfect for the rock garden alongside alpines or as edging plants.