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Green Fingers in Aug/Sept

Down at Caves Folly Nursery in Colwall, Bridget has been protecting the plants from the fierce summer sun.

The very cold winter and recent dry conditions caused by the heat have really tested the tolerance of many plants.

The importance of wind breaks and shading, even in a small garden, are necessary to enable plants and wildlife to survive the extremes of climate. Hedges, trees or large shrubs and arbours covered with climbing plants are all good for creating shade in the garden. Windbreaks such as evergreen hedges (Escallonia, Ealeagnus, Privet) create both shelter from cold winds and shade in the summer. 
Mulching the ornamental and vegetable garden with soil conditioner or compost also helps retain moisture levels in summer.

To help plants survive the cold, mulch with soil conditioner or bark chip in October to help trap the warmth in the soil.

Many alpine plants are great survivors of extreme conditions and are good reliable plants in exposed and dry conditions. Plants such as Helianthemums, Sedums, Inula, Achillea, Erigeron, Campanula, Thymes, Saxifraga and Potentilla are all tough species.

If you want to grow more tender drought lovers such as Agapanthus, Gazania or Salvias, plant them with a mix of gravel as well as compost to retain moisture in summer but drain freely in the winter.

Jobs in the ornamental garden
Use a range of defences against slugs and snails. Try half a grapefruit skin placed upside down on the soil or beer baited slug traps. Biological controls for slugs work well now in the warm soil.

Take cuttings of tender perennials such as penstemon and salvias.

Thin out the oxygenating weed from ponds and keep blanket weed from getting too thick.

Cut conifer hedges no later than end of August to prevent die back.

Trim lavender bushes to dead-head and shape.

Use vine weevil nematodes for pest control.

Order bulbs for spring flowers.

Keep Camellia and Rhododendrons well watered - now is the time they form flower buds for next spring.

Kitchen garden

  • Sow Parsley and salad crops to take you through to spring.
  • Raise ripening pumpkins and squashes off the soil to prevent rotting.
  • Plant new strawberries now, either as new plants or runners.
  • Prune fruited canes of summer raspberries.
  • Plant autumn onion sets.
  • Dig up any remaining potatoes.
  • Harvest, store, bottle and freeze as many vegetables and fruit as possible!


Bridget runs Caves Folly Nursery on Evendine Lane in  Colwall (WR13 6DX). They are open from 8th March until October, Thursdays to Saturdays from 10 - 5. You can contact them on 01684 540631 or visit their website: