August, the last of the summer months, is a time for reflection, for a gardener anyway. It’s time to stand back, admire all your hard work and take a breath. If your gardening year has been anything like mine so far, there has not been much time for anything else other than pruning and weeding. With all the rain we have had in spring and early summer, it enabled the plants and weeds to romp away almost unchecked. Everytime I turned my back I swear I would see another foot of growth that needed to be tamed. While rain can sometimes be good for the garden, it’s certainly not good for the gardener! Here’s hoping August will bring some dry sunny days which will enable us all to enjoy the fruits of our labour. It is also the month that one of the gardens I help to look after opens its gates to the public. Please see NGS Yellow book for more details – Malthouse Farm, Nr Ditchling. If you like tea, cake and plants then come along and say hello.
Plant of the Month – July
July – the height of the summer but also a funny time in the gardening calender – especially towards the end of month. As the first flush of summer flowers fades, there can often be a lull in our planting schemes before the riot of the late summer perennials and grasses really start to take off. Don’t be disheartened there are plenty of choices to help to fill this gap and one way to help inspire you would be to get out and see what other green fingered types have been up to. July is a great time to get out and see what other people have been up to in their own gardens. This month one of our own gardens in Steyning opens its doors to the public. Check out Saffrons, Holland Rd on the NGS website: http://www.ngs.org.uk/
Plant of the Month – june – Philadelphus
The heady scents that appear in our gardens in June are what tempt a lot of people into a life devoted to their gardens. Flowers are in abundance and there is normally still enough moisture in the soil to ensure that all plants are looking heathy and happy. Fragrance is very important in any garden scheme as it can tempt you to explore further to find out where exactly that sweet smell is coming from. It’s only appropriate that this month’s plant of the month is a fantastic little shrub that will be guaranteed to fill your garden with one of the most striking and delicious scents to come from any of our garden plants.
Plant of the Month – May
When May finally arrives in all its Spring Glory, that feeling of trudging through the garden in the depths of winter seems like a distant memory. May is more about drifting through the garden, taking in all the pleasure of spring as the plants continue to sprout flower and leaf while the birdsong floats through the air. It’s a great time of year with lengthening daylight and everything looking and smelling so fantastic, it’s easy to get lost in life outside. However, it’s easy to be distracted too. We quickly forget how the days can run away with us and it’s still a busy time in the gardening year too.
Plant of the Month – April
By April our gardens should be well and truly out of its winter slumber. It’s got to be my favourite time of year, I love to see the bulbs flowering and the leaves emerging from the bare branches of the deciduous trees and shrubs. If you are lucky enough to have the room for trees, then the bonus of spring blossom completes the perfect spring picture. As the weather warms up my enthusiasm also grows as its always more pleasant out in the garden when the sun is shining. Spring is a great time for planting as the soils are also warming up while still retaining some of that winter moisture. Any newly planted schemes have a much better chance of establishing well before the summer months. It’s a very busy time in the gardening year, so get on top of things now and you will reap the rewards as the seasons start to pass us by.
Plant of the Month – March
At the time of writing the winter is still well and truly with us, however in recent weeks there has been the slightest hint of spring. March, the first of the spring months, is one of my favourite times of year. The garden almost seems to wake up from its winter hibernation with the flowering bulbs providing blasts of colour to provide a much welcome cheer after the gloomy winter days. It’s definitely time to root out the spade and gloves and get out there and make the most of the better spring days, plenty to do especially if you haven’t been out in the garden all winter.
Plant of the Month – February
The last of the winter months. February often shows us glimpses of spring but can also be one of the coldest months of the year. By the end of the month there should be signs of life emerging from the winter soils. These provide hints of what’s to come in the following spring and summer months. It’s a good time of year to get yourself prepared for the next growing seasons, so make the most of the good days and get out in the garden and make a start now. This way you will be ready for whatever spring throws at you.
Plant of the Month – January
January can be a dreary month in the gardening calendar with not much going on and the weather outside not tempting you to put on your wellies and see what’s going on either. Having said that it’s nice to make the most of the better days and there is still work to be done, so don’t pack away the tools just yet, there is always something that needs to be done. It can be a good time to do that bit of work that you have been putting off all year.
Plant of the Month – November
November is the start of the winter, quite often the time we like to retreat back inside. However just because the weathers colder and the days are shortened doesn’t mean that the gardening years are over. There is still so much to do and see and can often be an exciting time of year as the trees and shrubs turn vibrant colours prior to losing their leaves. The bare bones of a garden start to present itself and the structure of a scheme becomes more evident. Now can often be the time to look at your gardens and make decisions about how to make them look interesting through the winter months. So don’t put your tools away just yet, enjoy and embrace the change of season and plan for the year ahead.
Plant of the Month – September
September can be a month full of vibrant colour and texture with the emergence of the flowers from the majority the ornamental grasses. Late flowering herbaceous plants like asters, dahlias and rudbeckia also pack a punch as they send their flowers through the spent flowers of the mid-summer perennials. It’s one of my favourite times of year and is what I consider to be the crescendo of the flowering season. Just because it’s the end of the summer your garden doesn’t need to be dull, there are plenty of plants to choose from that will light up your garden at this time of year.