August Newsletter

August Newsletter

It’s payback time! After all the work put into the garden over the preceding months now is when we gather cut flowers for the house and enjoy feasts of homegrown fruit, veg and herbs. But perhaps most importantly, this is when we can sit out and enjoy what we have created. And in the evening, it is a chance to really benefit from those scented flowers we’ve nurtured and to drink in their perfume.

August is a time of plenty and when it comes to tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and of course courgettes, it is often a time of glut. So, wash out those preserving pans and kilner jars and start to pickle! Preserving food was once essential if you were to survive the winter months when fresh food was scarce. That pressure no longer exists but many of us still prefer to make our own preserves rather than buying ones stuffed with artificial flavourings and colourings.

The most important gardening tip at this time of the year is to find time to just sit and enjoy what you have created. After all, “What is this life if, full of care, we have no chance to stand and stare?”

  • Pruning your wisteria this month will not only tidy it up but will also divert energy from producing tendrils to producing flower buds for next year
  • Order bedding plants to brighten your autumn/winter garden
  • Prune any rambling roses that have finished flowering
  • Continue picking sweet peas and removing any seed heads. Also mulch, feed and water. They’ll be finished all too soon.
  • Keep an eye on the level of water in your pond and top up from the hose when necessary. This will also help to oxygenate the water.
  • Water, feed, deadhead. Water, feed, deadhead. And keep repeating.
  • Some hardy annuals can be sown now, direct in their flowering positions meaning early flowers next spring/summer.
  • Salad leaves can be sown this month, in fact keep sowing and you’ll be eating salad all year round.
  • Continue to remove side-shoots from tomato plants and boost ripening by giving high potash feed.
  • Harvest beans, courgettes, potatoes, cucumbers, salad leaves, aubergines, etc, etc as soon as they are ready. Home-grown meals eaten outside with friends and family are one of the highlights of summer.

August Catalogues

Our 2018 Bulb Catalogue will be available from early August. Featuring autumn and spring flowering bulbs the catalogue also includes winter bedding, perennials, fruit and veg.

Large 9cm potted veg plants will be despatched from September onwards meaning you will be harvesting from autumn to early spring.

If you are keen on tulips then our new scented tulips are not to missed. Available in 4 different colours these are perhaps the most scented tulips ever!

For those of us who want fruit plants to look as good as the fruits will taste our 2018 bulb catalogue launches the new pink foliaged blueberry – Pink Flamingo. Perfect for a pot on the patio.

You’ve put a great deal of effort into growing your harvest and now is the time to preserve some for future enjoyment. The pleasure of eating something homemade is multiplied when the key ingredients are also homegrown. Even if your ingredients are shop-bought there’s a huge sense of achievement to be gained when you have labelled your jars and stacked them in the cupboard for the months ahead.

Whatever fruit or vegetables you are using go for top quality and the freshest possible. They should be clean, ripe (not over-ripe), firm and free from any blemishes. Soft berries are best for jam and jellies but just about everything else can go into pickles and chutneys. Make sure they are washed and chopped or diced into even-sizes pieces. If leaving whole then again, aim for items of roughly the same size.

Courgette Chutney

Wonderful for the courgette glut that we all experience, this tangy chutney will make you want to grow even more.

1kg courgettes cut into 1cm dice

4 large red onions cut into 1cm dice

4 garlic cloves crushed

75g root ginger, finely chopped

2 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds, roughly ground

500ml white wine vinegar

200g sultanas

350g white granulated sugar

1 tbsp sea salt

4 tbsp fresh coriander chopped

Place the first 8 listed ingredients in a large preserving pan and slowly bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables begin to soften (about 10 minutes).

Add the sugar and salt to the pan and continue to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir from time to prevent sticking and to ensure the sugar has dissolved.

To test for readiness, drag a spoon in a line through the mixture along the bottom of the pan. If it leaves a clean channel, then the chutney is ready. If the mixture simply flows back into the channel then it needs to simmer for longer.

Once the mixture is ready, add the fresh coriander and stir. Then using a wide-necked funnel, carefully pour into sterilised Kilner jars and seal. Wipe the jars and label when cool.

Leave to mature for a couple of months and then enjoy with cheese, cold meats or sausages.

Keeping Chickens?

Are your chickens reluctant to go into their coop at night? Are your hands and arms itching when you handle the birds or when you clean them out? Red mite love hot dry weather and will be feeding on your chickens at night whilst they roost, scuttling off to hide when dawn breaks.

Smite is an organic, naturally-mined, mineral product, fully licensed as an organic pesticide. Used for the killing and eradication of red mite and lice infestations this powder is for applying in the chicken housing and on the bedding. Apply direct to the birds by sprinkling some Smite in the dust bath or by using the bespoke puffer you can easily apply the powder direct to the birds.

Plant of the Month

If your flower displays are starting to come to end this month then it’s time to start thinking ahead. Your borders and pots don’t have to stay bare and empty until next spring. Our Winter Bedding Collection with brighten up your garden and fill it with colour from autumn, throughout winter and into spring.

 

The collection contains 45 extra value plug plants of 6 varieties, giving you 270 plants to fill your garden with winter colour. These include:

Bellis Spring Star – Large, fully double pompon blooms in shades of red, rose, white and a rose bicolour.

Forget-Me-Not Sylva Blue – Masses of bright blue flowers with little white eyes.

Pansy Select Mix – A superb colour range, both with and without faces.

Polyanthus F1 Spring Fever – A large number of blooms in a wide variety of colours.

Primrose Select Mix – This impressive mix will brighten your garden  in a host of shades, many attractively eyed.

Viola Autumn Select Mix – A great array of colours and repeat flowering.