Here we are with part 8 of my monthly series looking at what I have put into my garden journal. August has been a disappointing month weatherwise, with winds, rain and dull skies, and the plants have responded with short flowering periods and even our roses have failed to repeat flower.
I began my August entries, “The month of school holidays when families make their way to the seaside, is not a holiday in the garden. We have to keep dead-heading and tidying to make sure it looks its best.” and continued with my monthly quote from Jenny Joseph, “August is a time of vegetables and smells of leaves and roots as we clear: dusty, musty smell of old growth. What flowers we have in August depends on how diligent you’ve been at dead-heading earlier.”
I continued, “We dead-head our Roses most days in an attempt to keep them in bloom, and cut back dying perennials to encourage both fresh blooms and fresh growth from below.”
I next referred to our fun activity which takes us back to our childhoods, pond dipping, “An early dip in the pond with our net revealed that young Newts are still very much in evidence. We discovered the shell of a Dragonfly larva and a strangely bodied surface dwelling insect, its shape like an elongated diamond.” I wonder what a pond dipping session will reveal in September as autumn will then be creeping in.
Our Cercis siliquastrum tree featured again as we turn the page of my journal just as it has done in my May entries.
“Discovering new points of interest in the garden is always refreshing. We have always loved our Cercis siliquastrum for its mass of pink flowers in May, but this year we have rows of seed pods hanging from branches like celebratory bunting or prayer flags from Tibet.”
I attempted to paint a watercolour of a selection of pods and this proved to be a real challenge with the subtle variations of green and pink from pod to pod.
Further notes about the wildlife in our August garden followed on at the turn of the next page, where I noted, “Gardening in August is done with the sounds of Swallows and House Martins wheeling over our heads. Two very contrasting wildlife sounds add to the soundtrack, the deepest croaking grunt of our Toads and the highest pitched song of all our garden birds, the diminutive Goldcrest.” In my painting I tried to capture the character of the Goldcrest, cheerful, jittery and sparkling with life.
More sounds featured on the facing page, “Gentle, almost inaudible sounds emit from every border, the sounds of Hoverflies. Gentle humming from above flowers, rapid beats make wings almost invisible, the Hoverfly moves in sudden sharp changes of direction. They can be wasp-like, bee-like or fly-like, masters of mimicry and disguise”. I love taking photos of the wildlife that shares our garden and insects and have hundreds in my Photoshop storage space. I have found a few featuring a few of the many different species of Hoverfly to share with you.
It is one of my favourite families of plants that I featured on the next double page spread, the Crocosmias. “Hot colours throughout our garden are provided by many different Crocosmias. Yellows, Oranges and Reds.” I enjoyed the challenge of creating watercolour paintings of three of our cultivars.
From one bulbous rooted plant to another, from Crocosmias to Agapanthus. “Remember those Aganpanthus buds of July? Well, just look at them now!”
I hope you enjoy this little gallery of photos of our Agapanthus. Just click on the first photo and use the arrows to move on through.
My final page for August featured another garden favourite, this time a climber, the Honeysuckle. I wrote “Scent is an important player in our garden and one scented plant that waits until the evening to share its sweet aromas is the Honeysuckle or Lonicera. We have used a particularly beautifully coloured one to climb up the trellis that hides our composters. And our moths love it!” I turned once again to my beautiful wooden box of watercolour paints to create a little series of pictures of the buds, blooms and berries of the Honeysuckle.
The next look at my garden journal will be in September when we may be seeing the early signs of Autumn.