News - Page 94

Get water wise

Get water wise this summer for savings on your water bills and to beat the drought conditions which have afflicted many gardeners in recent months.

 

These days it's hard to tell whether we'll be facing flooding or hosepipe bans: so it makes sense to hope for the best and prepare for the worst, saving rainwater when there's plenty of it so you've got good reserves for when there isn't. Here are just a few of the ways you can droug...

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August's plant of the month is the Phlox

August's plant of the month is the phlox, one of those plants no cottage garden border should be without. Quintessentially romantic, its fragrant clusters of pink, white or purple flowers release their perfume in the evenings: they're also a big favourite with bees and other pollinating insects making them ideal for the wildlife garden, too.

 

Modern-day varieties are bred to grow sturdy and healthy, so you don't need to do the st...

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Count your butterflies

Count your butterflies for this year's Big Butterfly Count, the initiative run by Butterfly Conservation which draws on ordinary gardeners to help monitor populations of this much-loved but endangered garden regular.

All you have to do is find a quiet spot somewhere in your garden any time between now and the end of August, sit down for 15 minutes and record any butterflies you see. You'll find an ID chart and full instructions on the website...

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Give your garden a late-summer makeover

Give your garden a late-summer makeover to spruce up your borders and encourage a second flush of flowers and foliage to take you into the autumn refreshed and raring to go.

Giving a haircut to perennials which flowered earlier in the season often encourages a late burst of flowers. Hardy geraniums respond really well to this: snip back all the top growth from early summer favourites like 'Rozanne', 'Philippe Vapelle' and 'Ann Folkard' to abo...

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What to do in the garden in August:

The garden is nothing if not colourful this month, what with the day-glo colours of late summer dazzling beneath brilliantly-coloured butterflies. Keep it looking gorgeous with our list of jobs to be getting on with this month:

 

General tasks:

Keep up with the harvest, whether it's fruit, vegetables or cutting flowers, as regular picking keeps the produce coming

 

Clear away earl...

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Help your lawn survive the summer

Help your lawn survive the summer by taking a few simple precautions which will help it get through the long, hot spell without lasting damage.

Luckily grass is incredibly resilient so even if yours is looking more like straw by now, it'll bounce back the moment the rain starts again. A little extra top growth helps protect the roots and keep them cool, though, so set the mower at a higher level than normal to prevent it drying out as much.

If you deci...

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Enjoy a celebration of all that's good in gardening this week

Enjoy a celebration of all that's good in gardening this week as one of the country's friendliest garden shows gets under way at Tatton Park near Knutsford in Cheshire.

All your favourite features are at the North's most keenly anticipated horticultural event. Don't miss the ever-popular National Flowerbed Competition in which council parks departments vie with each other to produce the most eye-popping displays using only bedding plants.

Around 90 lea...

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Give your pond a summer makeover

Give your pond a summer makeover while it's in full growth and problems are instantly visible. While you're at it, treat yourself to some of the fabulous summer-flowering water plants you'll find in our garden centre too, from pretty floating water forget-me-not to zingy purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria).

Follow our checklist to keep your pond in perfect condition this summer:

Get rid of algae: twist bla...

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Plant of the week - Cotinus

Who needs flowers for rich, sumptuous colour? The deep, burgundy leaves of a Cotinus mean you'll never be short of something spectacular to look at. Also known as the smoke bush, those deliciously vibrant leaves are topped with clouds of pink flowers in late summer: the leaves also turn scarlet before falling in autumn.

'Grace' is probably the best known, and the largest at about 6m tall. Others to try are 'Royal Purple', with the deepest coloured leaves, or...

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Keep the greenhouse pest free!

Keep the greenhouse pest free by staying alert for signs of pests and diseases. This is the time of year when many come out of hiding and start to feast on your tomatoes, cucumbers and melons, turning them from healthy plants to sickly, mottled and struggling ones – so it's worth taking action early.

Use a yellow sticky trap as an early warning of trouble ahead: you'll often see greenhouse pe...

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