End of Month Review - August 2012

We have reached the end of August, the eighth month.  Named after Augustus, who became ‘First Citizen’ after the assignation of Julius Caesar (somewhat wisely he decided not to use the title Emperor).  August, in the Roman Calendar, was the sixth month, because March used to be the first month.  This is all far too complicated, so I shall get on with the task in hand of looking at how the garden has been in August.
The weather has been changeable.  Quite often it has been quite hot, sometimes hot hot and largely warm.  There has been some thunder storms and some rain.  So all in all, not too bad really.  A bit of sun then a bit of rain keeps the garden looking good, though the really heavy torrential rain has flattened some flowers.
The good thing about all the rain is that the garden is looking quite green and lush.  It has got a little dry at times but then a few good downpours later and the garden is drinking in the rain again.
There is quite a bit of colour in the garden.  The echinaceas, heleniums and rudbeckias are all flowering well.  The Croscomia is almost over, but has been a great flash of red and yellow whilst it lasted.
The asters are now coming into flower.  They have really got quite bit this year, they will need splitting next year.
The Rosa Hyde Hall hedge is doing very well.  I've been feeding my roses with organic liquid seaweed and they are loving it.
The woodland border is still a bit sparse, but it is only its second year, first full year in reality.  I have planted several fuchsias in there and I am hoping that they will be spectacular next year.  I have grown Manx fuchsias for a few years but this year I seem to have gone a bit fuchsia-mad.  I have bought several more and taken lots of (successful) cuttings.  Next year there will be many fuchsias.
The prairie borders are starting to look as I want them too.  Again I think it will be another year before they are really good.  I am going to do a separate post on their development as it is almost an exact year since I dug this area over.
This is part of the Spring border, sort of behind the bramley tree.  It is shady and quite damp most of the time.  I've tried to grow a few things in it, but this border believes totally in self determination.  It now mainly contains hellebore seedlings, a couple of pulmonaria, several welsh poppies and a Rosa Winchester Cathedral bending out to find the sun.
The dahlia border is looking quite colourful.  The Ricinus plant is growing well there this year.  I must collect seeds from it so I will have more next year.
Some of the dahlias look remarkably like zinnias in the dahlia border.  This is because they are zinnias.  A bit small this year and slow to get going, but lovely all the same.
The dahlias are also a bit small, but the colours have been wonderful and if it wasn't for the constant slug attacks the border might actually look like I think it should.  It needs a bit more height I think from the dahlias, next year I will buy tall.
I scythed the wild garden the other day.  Largely cutting down the ragwort and nettles but leaving the grass still fairly long and the wildflowers within it.
I also liked how it looks at the moment as I walk down from the top of the garden, across the dancing lawn with the wild garden to the right of me and the dahlia border and pond to the left.
The vegetable beds are pretty much a disaster area.  A handful of peas, two handfuls of beans so far.  A couple of courgettes and a bit of broccoli.  The potatoes have been a joke, seriously, someone's been taking the mick!  If there was a competition for failing to grow spuds I would probably come second to that person who failed to grow any because they forgot to plant them.  Not a good spud year!  The onions have been ok and the garlic passable.  Next year will have to be better.  The only small whoop of excitement has been over the first gathering of a sweetcorn cob.  Next year there will be more sweetcorn.
The greenhouse contains mainly a few begonias, some stipa tenuissima for the prairie borders that are just waiting now to be planted and quite a lot of winter pansies and primroses that are part of the Thompson and Morgan trial I am taking part in.
The front garden is also a disaster area, if I was going to make a disaster movie about my garden then I think that the vegetable beds would be 'Grow Hard' and the front garden would be Grow Hard with a Vengence'.  My front garden hates me and in truth I am not too fond of it either.  I dug up the main lawn to plant a knot garden (hence little box hedging you can see).  The knot garden bit has had its ups and downs but is now relatively ok.  The main issue now is the bandit country between the box hedging and the lavender edging.  These huge crocosmia are quite stunning, but surrounded by more and more weeds that are strangling everything.  I think I am going to totally clear the bandit country and put down a nice, calming, bark mulch.  I will then be able to weed the knot garden more easily and hopefully feel less stressed by the whole garden in general.  Well, that is today's plan anyway.
I finish as usual on the pond.  Its quite full, quite happy (though a little green and slimy in places, it is not the perfect pond like Monty has created).

Now the season starts to turn, a few leaves have started to fall, the nights are drawning in.  Soon it will be apple crumble time.

Thanks as ever to Helen for hosting this meme.


  1. The garden is largely looking good Alison, and lots of colour there! Love the Dahlias! August has been a mixed bag indeed, and this morning has been very cold (cold for August that is). Hopefully September will turn out to be a bonus of a month, with a summer that all of us has long been waiting for..

    1. Thanks - I'm hoping for a warm September too :)

  2. Your borders are very colourful. Did you grow the box from cuttings - in my Sussex garden I grew more than 300 to markout the herb garden. With a 100% strike rate - I still feel the need to boast about it all these years later. I admire you using a scythe too - do you save the hay? For several years we did so, for our pygmy goat.

    1. Thanks - no I didn't grow them from cuttings, though I keep some cuttings growing to be spares if I need them - I did buy the box very small though, it's taken a few years for them to start to really thicken up. If I had grown them all from cuttings I would boast too :). I don't keep the hay, it gets composted

  3. I cant get over how much lawn you have to cut. Its nice that the pond has remained full nearly all year now, makes change to last year. My Dahlias have been disasterous, well none existent really so you have done well

    1. Thankfully the lawn only takes an hour to cut now, it used to take 3 hours when I first moved in and had no pond or borders. My dahlias grown from seed have been great, the ones from tubers have all been eaten by slugs!

  4. Your borders are looking very colourful - lots of variety. It has not been a good year for some vegetables - I have lost count of the number of seedlings I have lost to slugs and snails.

    1. Thanks. I've had so much trouble with slugs this year, lost loads of stuff


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