Local Gardeners Notes
We have enjoyed a good August after a rather wet July, where things are starting to get quite dry. It's worth keeping an eye on shrubs and trees that are struggling, particularly any that are under the canopy of large trees. September is a busy month with harvesting and cutting back tired summer growth. Plants that benefit from a good tidy are Alchemilla mollis, Nepeta, Salvia (herbaceous ones) and Geraniums. This will give them the opportunity to put on new growth and look good into the winter. While you are cutting back keep an eye out for dried seed heads on poppies, aquilegias, foxgloves and other similar plants. You can either collect the seeds in paper bags or sprinkle them on areas of bare soil. It is a good time to cut evergreen hedges as the summer growth has slowed but still allowing time for a little growth before the winter. Try not to do it in the heat of the day, particularly on plants like box.
At the beginning of August the cemetery wildflower area had it's annual cut and Ben and Matthew Hammond collected the cuttings up for me to spread on the church yard wild area, this is to encourage a greater selection of wildflowers, it's a good economic way of spreading wild seed on an area but the grass cuttings must be collected as soon as it is cut otherwise the seed will be released too early. A visit and a report from Suffolk Wildlife Trust offered helpful suggestions for ways to improve the wildlife area and congratulated us on the work done to date.
The weather this year has contributed to cases of blight affecting potatoes and tomatoes. Any plants showing signs should be removed with tomatoes being pulled up and burnt or put in a bag in your normal black rubbish bin, don't be tempted to compost as the blight will survive in the soil. Foliage should be cut off potatoes and disposed of in the same way. The potatoes themselves should be lifted and any showing signs thrown away. It's worth remembering the variety used this year and try a more resistant variety next year. Tomatoes grown under glass are less suseptable as blight is air born. Crop rotation is also important to reduce the chance next year.
I normally end my article recommending a walk locally or some other wildlife experience, at the beginning of August we travelled to bungay and hired a four man canoe and paddled off down the Waveney river stopping off along the way fora picnic on the water meadow near Earsham. It was a great way to see wildlife and a very beautiful part of Suffolk. We have taken lots of walks over the time we have lived here along various parts of the Waveney Valley and feel it's a bit if a hidden gem.
Any questions please contact me at The Wheelwrights in Church Street or via my new link on the Stradbroke Village website where you can also read the Gardener's Notes from previous magazines (should you be that way inclined).
Enjoy the last of the summer, Luke