It’s the summer holidays and with it comes a sigh of relief as, hopefully, we can have a break from everyday timetables and commitments, and I can feel that change of tempo in the garden too. August is a transitional month; the roses have bloomed once and are pausing before another flush, and if you have had a chance to cut back early flowering perennials (such as Catmint) in July then they too are getting ready for a second bloom in September.
There is always plenty to do in the garden but there is a relaxed mood in August and we can allow ourselves some time to sit back and watch the garden as it comes to fruition and prepares itself for harvest. So, let’s celebrate the year of the ‘Staycation’ and make the garden the perfect spot to idle away time with friends and family. Some chairs, a table, fairy lights and a few pots can transform an area into a perfect retreat and transport us to a ‘holiday destination’!
This is also the moment to enjoy the fruits of our labours, whether as a vegetable grower busy picking tomatoes or cucumbers and thwarting attempts by courgettes to become marrows, or picking armfuls of flowers from a cut flower patch to put in vases. It is the time to celebrate the successes and hard work of the last year.
If you are new to gardening it can be so tempting, when you see beautiful flowers all around you, to want to start a complete overhaul and get digging now. But August is not the month to do a big redesign; it’s often a dry month when plants are flowering and ready to go to seed, so it is better to make a note of what you like and think about getting the garden ready in the Autumn. Likewise, if you have an established border that might feel overwhelming and jungle-like, to wade in now and start changing things around would cause all sorts of damage and be futile. Apart from dead heading or cutting flowers to enjoy inside, and of course watering if necessary, it is time to let the garden grow and flourish.
So sit yourself down, with a drink of something delicious, watch your garden unfold and allow yourself to gently consider your plans for next year.
Originally published in Focus magazine