This month we can really begin to appreciate our gardens, weather permitting!, still plenty of tasks though, beds & borders need to be mulched, to keep in precious moisture & suppress the weeds, keeping the soil cool. I know it is a bit early to start thinking about next Spring, but this month a start can be made planting daffodils & narcissi, as they become available in garden centres, towards the end of the month. Continue dead heading roses, annuals, and perennials, spray roses against black spot & other diseases, prune climbing & rambling roses, varieties that do not repeat flower. Now is a good time to take cuttings of fuchsias, flowering shrubs & herbs. Start picking apples as they ripen, why not go foraging for blackberries? to go with them to make wonderful pies & deserts. Tie in new growth of cultivated blackberries & other hybrid berries.
In the vegetable garden, shallots & Autumn sown onions may be ready for lifting during sunny weather, lay them in trays in a warm dry place, for a couple of weeks to finish ripening. I saw a novel way of storing onions recently; take a leg of an old pair of tights, drop in an onion tie a knot & repeat, keeps them in perfect condition, just cut off as many as you require when needed. Lift main crop potatoes & allow to dry on the surface to help set their skins. Keep on picking runner beans, avoid allowing any to go to seed, unless you want to, as soon as the plant detects it has made seed, it will reduce it’s yield, the more you pick the more it increases the length of the cropping time. Keep up with the weeding & hoeing, keeping that hoe sharp!, for the old adage is very true, “one year’s weed, seven years seed”!
In the greenhouse , provide shade on hot days & ensure plenty of ventilation, damp down base of greenhouse to improve the humidity. Pot grown chillies, reduce watering towards the end of the month, to help remaining fruits to mature and colour up ready for harvesting. Tomatoes, keep picking as they ripen & also removing all side shoots, stop plants at six to seven trusses to ensure enough time left for ripening, keep on feeding a high potash feed each week. Old & discoloured leaves can be removed, discard carefully for any dying foliage will promote the start of mould on your plants & fruit, this includes all those side shoots you have removed!
Lawns, raise the blades on your mower, mow lightly & often so that the short clippings remain on the grass to act as a moisture retentitive mulch during the dry Summer weather, excess “thatch” can be removed during the Autumn.
Club notes; our meeting for June was somewhat unusual, as instead of holding our meeting in the Ellendune Hall, we all travelled to an open garden, as part of the National open gardens scheme. Members all met up in the Ellendune car park, and after receiving instructions set off for the Old Vicarage, at Hilmarton. The gardens were kindly opened for the evening,especially for our club by the owners. The gardens were on a seven acre plot, which included a Victorian walled garden, ornamental pond, wisteria covered pergola, blue & white herbaceous borders, a secret Italian garden, a woodland walk, and lawns surrounded by colourful borders & a herb garden. Adjacent to the garden was a wild flower meadow that had been featured in the “Wiltshire” magazine & “WI life”. After touring the gardens members enjoyed tea & cakes in the court yard, not the warmest of June evenings, but we were not rained on! Approximately 50 members took part in this visit, & our thanks go to Noel Williams, for organising this special evening & for preparing those detailed route directions & thanks of course go to the owners Lesley & George Hudson for their kindness & hospitality always on hand to answer any questions that were put to them, I am confident all those who made the journey enjoyed their evening & all monies raised, will go to deserving charities.
Our next meeting will be held on Monday the 19th of August when our speaker will be our Chairman, Jeff Bolton, with a talk entitled “preparation for showing”, with all Jeff’s years of experience we will all have something to learn & brush up our techniques for our next show, incidentally our Autumn show will be held this year on Saturday 21st of September, more details next month. There was no members competition in June due to our evening visit, however, the subject for this months will be a “Picture of your shed”, not the inside, but the outside, postcard size prints please! So all you budding photographers, get out there & lets see what lurks in your garden!
On a final note, as I have laboured on about weeding this month, to quote Francis Bacon, 1561 – 1626, “as is the garden, such is the gardener, a man’s nature turns either to herbs or weeds”