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There is much to enjoy and appreciate in a Summer garden

PUBLISHED: 17:16 03 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:49 20 February 2013

Harrogate is famous for its town centre displays

Harrogate is famous for its town centre displays

There is much to enjoy and appreciate in the garden during August and much to learn, as Martin Fish explains

August is a month to really enjoy your garden when many plants are at their best and you should reap the rewards of all your hard work earlier in the year. It is the time when herbaceous borders are heaving with colour, bedding and containers displays are bursting with blooms and the fruit and vegetable garden is providing an abundance of fresh produce.

There is absolutely no doubt about it that an herbaceous border in full colour is a wonderful sight and Yorkshire certainly has its fair share of gardens that have stunning borders. Probably one of the best known in the UK is the 140m long double herbaceous border at Newby Hall near Ripon.

The parallel borders that stretch from the house down to the River Ure are ever changing from June through to the end of September. To complement the permanent planting, seasonal plants are also used for additional colour and during August dahlias are at their best.

Although we are not able to work on such a large scale in our own gardens, we can certainly pick up a few tips such as filling gaps with seasonal colour and interest. Even now it isnt too late to do this especially if you have some colourful foliage or flowering plants in pots. Cannas and dahlias are perfect for this and a pot-full standing in between green foliage really brightens up a border.

Bedding plants are also looking good at the moment and although large formal planting schemes are not as popular in our gardens as they used to be, I think there is still place for annuals and tender perennials, even if its just to lighten up a dull corner or to add come colourful containers to a patio. Its too late to plant for this summer, but its an ideal time to look at other planting schemes to get some ideas for next year.

Many Yorkshire towns such as Harrogate plant bedding displays that really add to the attractiveness of the town and its always interesting to see what plants they group together. Whether you are looking for ideas for either a formal or informal planting scheme, you dont have to go far for inspiration.

August is also the start of the main harvest season in the gardens with many different fruits and vegetables starting to ripen and mature. Its a time that I really enjoy. One of the first apples of the season is Discovery, not a Yorkshire variety Im afraid, but one that grows well in the county. Its an apple that needs eating straight from the tree as it doesnt store well. There are of course many apples that do originate for Yorkshire and next month Ill have details of those and other seasonal fruits.

Yes, August is definitely a month when there is plenty to admire in the garden. Its also a good time to get out and see other gardens, large or small, to give you even more ideas.

Find out more about Yorkshires gardens at

Here are a few light jobs that can be done in the garden this month

Although camellias flower in spring the flower buds are initiated at this time of the year. In order for the buds to develop properly the plant must not be allowed to dry out at the root. Water and feed around the base of the plant to keep the soil moist in dry weather.

If you want to grow a few extra strawberry plants for next year now is the time to peg down a few runners into small pots of compost where they will root in a matter of weeks. Only propagate from strawberry plants that are healthy and showing no signs of disease.
Remove the faded flowers from geraniums (pelargoniums) on a regular basis to encourage more flower buds to form.

Harvest garlic from the garden when the foliage has died down by carefully easing the bulbs out of the ground with a fork. Once dry the garlic can be stored for several months.
Hopefully August will be a fairly dry and warm month and give us chance to get the barbeque going in the evening. Fresh herbs are great used on the barbeque to flavour food. Rosemary branches are also perfect for making kebab skewers.

Where shrubs grow on to the lawn, use secateurs to lightly trim the branches back which will make mowing easier.

Keep picking courgettes every few days while they are small and tender. If left, they grow very quickly into marrows.

The print version of this article appeared in the August 2011 issue of Yorkshire Life

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