“A garden is a friend you can visit anytime”

August is a time to reap the rewards in a garden, vegetables and fruit are ripening, ready to pick and enjoy. All of the earlier work, creating new beds, or preparing the soil, sowing seeds, planting and nurturing, should be coming to fruition in the last of the summer months. Harvesting your own produce, plot to plate is a special treat to savour and with luck a sunny August too.

For repeat flowering plants, deadhead, to ensure there are plenty of blooms through the rest of summer, but for others such as Poppies, Rudbeckias, Heleniums, Echinops and Nigellas leaving the seed heads on, gives structure in the borders and food for goldfinches, adding teasels to a wildlife garden will be especially rewarding.

If you are cutting hedges, double check, in case of late nesting blackbirds and thrushes, ensuring plenty of food and fresh water will help the parents. By August many birds will be looking slightly worse for wear as they shed or moult their breeding feathers and grow new ones, ready for the winter. The extraordinary Swallows nesting at Greystones are migratory birds; their moult process is very quick, to prepare for the long journey home.

Not quite so far for humans to travel, National Trust Snowshill and Hidcote have reopened with timed tickets bookable in advance and the National Garden Scheme, have both virtual garden visits and are adding even more Gloucestershire timed garden visits. Sezincote, Kiftsgate, the Roccoco gardens, Cerney gardens, Bourton House gardens, and Batsford, all have up to date visitor information on their websites.

Take care of yourselves and others too, stay safe. We hope your gardens are blooming and your garden wildlife is happy too.

Julie Huckle