August at The Reigate Garden Centre Plant Department
Plant of the Month
Anemone japonica (Japanese Anemone)
Anemone was introduced into Europe by the great plant hunter Robert Fortune, who apparently found it growing between tombstones in Shanghai where it has long been used to commemorate the dead.
Anemone x hybrida is also filed under the name of Japanese Anemone which is thought to be a natural hybrid. One of the best of these is Anemone x hybrida Honorine Jobert which has single white flowers tinged with pink on the underside. The outstanding qualities of this plant have earned it the prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM) from Royal Horticultural Society.
Japanese Anemones prefer an alkaline loamy soil but will grow on a wide range of soils including clay. They are best planted in partial shade although many will be happy in fun sun. Good drainage is also essential.
Plants should be mulched with bark after planting and as they are late growers it is advisable to mark their spot with canes to prevent any damage which cultivating in the spring.
Old flower stalks should be trimmed after flowering and all faded foliage should pruned back in March.
Wherever possible avoid moving plants as they resent disturbance, however old clumps can be lifted and divided in spring.
You can prune fast-growing hedges such as privet and leylandii hedges again in August. Do not do it later in the year. The shoots that grow on the hedge after pruning need to have plenty of time to ripen before winter comes.
Both annuals and many perennials flower much better if the dead flowers are regularly removed. On some varieties such as lupin, delphinium, Geum, Alyssum and Alchemilla a second flowering or follow-on flowering can then happen in favorable conditions.
Plant Madonna lily, autumn crocuses and colchicum
Now is a good planting time for Madonna lilies (Lilium candidum).
The bulbs of colchicum and autumn-flowering crocuses (such as Crocus kotschyanus, pink flowers, and C. speciosus, lilac) need to be planted in August.
Plant Colchicum 10 cm deep, Crocus 6 cm deep.
Lay a lawn
This is an excellent month for laying and sowing a new lawn. August can be a damp month and grass seed will germinate quickly. Plus the grass can then be fairly well-established before winter comes.
Fertilise the lawn
If the grass is growing well, the blades remain succulent and the lawn is easy to mow. You can now give lawn feed one more time. After this, only give special nitrogen-free autumn fertilizer. The grass must be able to ripen before winter in order to be more frost-resistant.