Summer August Gardener 2020
Let’s enjoy this summer weather that at least is more moderate heat this year in the UK ,BUT MUCH DRIER SO MAINTAIN REGULAR WATERING !!!!
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Protection from mid summer sun may be required with adding water crystals to hanging baskets and containers and if possible some lawn water feeding with a high nitrogen greening feed such as Miracle Grow (UK ) crystals to at least slow down the severe browning effect of the sun and lack of rain on grass. Last year my south facing lawn recovered well with late summer autumn rain .The previous very hot year 2018 in the uk I sadly lost one magnificent Prunus kanzan tree that died very suddenly in 34 deg despite regular watering! Can’t win them all with nature ruling and a bit of climate change on the way!
The most severe problem we all have had this year is a very wet winter and followed by a very very unwelcome dry summer .This confuses temperate plants physiological mechanisms leaving them looking dried out always desperate for water .Rain water is always more welcome to ‘green them up’and is particularly needed by Ericaceous (acid soil loving )plants. Many gardeners i speak to are really struggling to maintain garden soil back into a good, soft and diggable loamy condition using hosed water ,’grey water ‘and a rain water butt, the latter supply was quickly exhausted by June ! Dried soil requires considerable added organic compost, manure( to hold the water) and if possible leaf mould is really excellent for soil conditioning If your soil is getting hard it may be a sure sign of too much clay without enough sand and organic matter. These soil inbalances need to be addressed preferably in March and October when it is much easier to dig in organic matter and possibly added sand to a softer good loam mixture ( clay silt sand ) rather than ending up with rock hard clay based soil in midsummer,which is becoming more and more common with climate change . Remember plants can die if the roots cannot physically travel through soil and move to search for soil stored NPK and Mg and micro nutrients nutrients ,available moisture and a small matter of oxygen for vital roots respiration.!
Ref Science for the Gardener Book Chapter 7 Digging for Victory pps 67-83
Colours are magnificent and widest ranging at this time of the year with a good summer range of Blues – Campanulas, Linums , Lavandula Oranges – Geum, Reds and White Pelargonium – geraniums – also just go and enjoy all the great gardening efforts made in larger now reopen to the public private and public gardens (N Trust, RHS etc) all looking radiant this year with lawns still just about greenish .You will need to book ahead at present with the virus emergency still present.
See what plants you can identify it’s great fun out on a walk with a friend and exchange guesses. Take a Pocket Plant or Wildflower book with you perhaps, its worth doing .
Kitchen Gardens are now in full swing and Leguminous Pea and Bean vegetables and tomatoes under glass, Cucurbitaceae Courgettes etc. Mint Mentha family herbs all will grow better to what appears to be a much drier July rather than the dreadful disappointing wet cold June that was not at all helpful for pollinators. There are many specialist editorials on vegetable and fruit growing in the media.
Any Science based garden queries do contact me on tony@scienceforthe gardener.com that includes international website www.scienceforthegardener .com and Science for the Gardener world wide Book readers all very welcome .
Tony Arnold MCIHort