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Keep plants well-fed and watered

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Monday, 26th July 2021, 12:00

Hopefully this month will see you harvesting plenty of beans and tomatoes, or coming back from holiday and finding the tiny little courgette you left on has now assumed the proportions of a very large barrage balloon!

If you are going away and haven’t got anyone to water your pots, move them to a shady position – I used to use an old rigid paddling pool and put some water in it just to tide them over.

Replant a third of your stock every year

Strawberries decline after two or three years, so it is good practice to replant a third of your stock every year. You could buy them in or you could use the runners produced towards the end of the season by pegging them down. Do this either into the soil or into small pots of compost like John Innes No.1, using bits of wire coat hangers to make a U-shaped piece about 15cm in length.

Plant up your new runners as soon as they have rooted, but at least by the second week in September to give them a good start next year.

Tidy up rambling roses

August is the time to tidy up climbing and rambling roses after they have flowered. Roses grown over arches or pergolas can become dangerous if the long whippy growth is not tied in and catches someone passing underneath.

As the new shoots are pliable when they are young it is easier to wind or tie into the desired space. Winding the shoots in a spiral increases the flowering and stops the perennial problem of roses that just flower at the top.

At this stage of the game, remove poorly performing annuals and bedding plants, as they won’t have time to improve, and replace with some bargains from the garden centre!

Feed your pots with a weak solution of liquid fertiliser every week – I use a seaweed one. Doing this and dead-heading the flowers will extend the lifetime of your displays, meaning you get to enjoy the results of your hard work for longer.

Get ahead of the game for winter

Plant ‘Paperwhite’ narcissi bulbs for winter indoor displays – I know, it is strange to think of winter already but you will be ahead of the game. If your container has no drainage holes, use special bulb fibre.

Plant the bulbs close together with the tips just showing and keep in a cool dark place for 8-12 weeks while the roots develop. It is nice to find shallow, old-fashioned vegetable dishes, etc. from the junk shops to give them a vintage look.

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