As August draws to a close we are thankful for all the lovely vegetables we have harvested this month, despite mostly ignoring the kitchen garden this summer. The onions are so tasty grilled or baked and we are enjoying them on a daily basis.
But to sum up August we would like to write about our flowers in the garden. We started most of them off as seeds two and a half year ago and we also bought quite a few of them as small perennial plants. Even if you are on a tight budget it does not take long to get your flowers growing big and strong. The first year, we invested in a few trailer loads of well rotted cow manure and it has really been worth while. All our flowers and vegetables have really taken off and it is quite amazing how quick the garden has established. Each year we have added more flower beds and even the ones started last year are looking good. In autumn we do an all over weeding and add leaf mould to all the beds and that makes it easy to weed in the spring. Most beds do need another weeding in midsummer as the perennials are still establishing and filling in their allocated spaces.
In a couple of years we can start dividing the well established perennials and swap them with friends. We have already received lots of wonderful plants this way, shrubs, vegetables and flowers that had outgrown their spaces in friend’s gardens.
Flowers are lovely to look at and create a colourful wonderland to stroll about in but are also highly beneficial. We have many edible varieties as well as bee and butterfly favourites. We grow them together with our vegetables for both a practical and beautiful approach. This year we have had a very cold and rainy summer but there are still lots of flowers and vegetables performing well, although a bit later than usual. Some vegetables come with the added benefit of beautiful flowers, like the runnerbean that was first introduced to Europe as an ornamental.
Our main circle has really put on a show this month with all the lovely red crocosmia in the south fiery section. The cardoons in the west have grown very tall and our willow fence we wove in early spring has prevented most of them from blowing over. We are happy with the grass bed we planted in the east section; most grasses have really taken off.
All in all, perennial, biannual and annual flowers give a garden almost instant appeal, and do not be afraid to experiment. If something outgrows its space or if too many weeds pop up in the bed, rearrange your plants to suit the space. Most perennials do not mind being moved, but you should wait until autumn or early spring, when they are dormant. Take some photos in the summer to remind you what the bed looks like as it makes it easier to adjust your plantings. We love all our colourful flowers and cannot imagine the garden without them. Collect and scatter seeds about where you want more flowers or plant them into seed trays to grow on a bit first, before planting out or giving to friends. Some people plan their colour schemes very carefully but we do not fall into that category. In our garden there are a lot of happy accidents and we think it all looks beautiful.