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A holiday or vacation in your outside room…

August 15, 2012

gardenblog21.jpgWell, the holiday season is truly here and it’s that time of the year when we can enjoy our gardens. The garden as an “outside room” really comes into its own when used for socialising with family, friends and their children spending many hours in the garden. There’s something special about lazily sitting around in the garden during an evening after a barbecue and watching the embers die down as the sun goes down. As well as for socialising this time of the year, gardens can also be a place of freedom and adventure where children can learn and start to understand about nature.

Why let your children get bored during the summer holidays when you could let them help you with some of the gardening jobs? Providing you keep safety in mind, why not give them a small area of the garden and let them create a mini garden? Let them plant their own plants and in the same way that children can learn much about responsibility by owning a pet, I believe that children can learn as much by having their own patch in the garden that they are responsible for. Kids love water, so why not get them to help with the watering? In fact, any help with watering this time of the year is very welcome indeed! Have your children help you this way around the garden and they’ll soon understand about, or better still, help with dead-heading! “So just why do plants grow better when you take the flowers off?”

This time of the year is also a great time for getting free plants and if you haven’t done so, have a go at propagating new plants from cuttings. You can take cuttings from tender perennials such as fuchsias, pelargoniums, osteospermum, verbena and marguerites. Also you can take cuttings from shrubs and houseplants too, pot them up into small pots and grow them on through the winter until next spring on a warm windowsill.

Its never too late to start growing your own crops and during August you can sow root vegetables such as turnips and beetroot, also you can get some salad crops going too, like lettuces, spring onions and radishes.

Other jobs to be getting on with in the garden this month include keeping the lawn under control with regular mowing, but do remember not to cut grass too short during dry spells as it could dry out too much. Slow growing evergreen hedges can be given a trim to keep them neat and tidy. Other shrubs that can be pruned this time of year to keep them from out-growing their allotted spaces include shrubs like deutzia, laurel, philadelphus, and weigela.

If you have Wisteria, then you might like to know that you can induce and promote flowering on a your Wisteria by pruning. Now is the time to shorten all long shoots growing out from the main framework back to approximately 6 leaves and then again in winter shorten those shoots further. That way, hopefully next season you’ll get an abundance of wonderfully scented cascading blooms.

If you would like a burst of bright autumn colour then look out for the autumn crocus bulbs, Colchicum and autumn daffodil, called Sternbergia as soon as they are available and plant them in your borders now.

It’s always nice to be a little self-indulgent around this time of the year and simply enjoy being in the garden relaxing. Many people spend so much time working in their gardens they tend to forget to do that one thing that’s great to do on a hot balmy summer’s day… nothing!

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