Christchurch Flowers Care - August

August comes complete with the promise that spring
will soon be here. Watch out for those August winds,
though. They can dry out soft new growth and blow
blossoms all over the garden.

Flowers to sow in August – Nasturtium
Nasturtium Cherry Rose steers away from the yellows and oranges traditionally associated with nasturtiums. Its rich, rose-coloured blooms add bright contrast to the soft green of the leaves. Look for this Yates seed packet now and sow before the weather gets really hot (into sheltered pots if you’re still experiencing frosts). Kids, particularly, find the relatively large seeds easy to handle, and the versatile leaves and flowers can add decorative touches to salads.

Vegies to sow in August – Baby Beets
Even if you don’t have much room for growing vegies, it’s easy to find enough space for a few baby beets. These trendy mini vegies will grow just as happily in pots as they do in garden beds. There’s one trick to remember, though: beetroot seed comes surrounded by a corky coating, so it’s best to soak the seeds in water for a few hours before sowing them.

Feed in August
August is take-off time for many plants. Citrus and roses are particularly heavy feeders that need plenty of nutrients to support new growth and encourage flower production. Choose either Thrive Citrus Food (which suits all fruit trees) or Thrive Rose Food – they’ve been formulated for these special plant groups. Granular fertilisers can be a bit strong for potted plants so, in containers, instead use Thrive Once a Year Feeder or Nutricote pellets.

Prune in August – Roses and camellias
If you’ve delayed pruning your roses it’s best to get the job done this month (the exceptions, of course, being the spring-only bloomers).

Camellias don’t necessarily have to be pruned but any trimming should be done after flowering. Sasanquas can be shaped into formal hedges or espaliered with ease. Japonica camellias often benefit from thinning to allow more light and air into the centre of the plant.

Pest watch – Moss in lawns and on paths
Shaded, damp areas often develop moss that, while it can be attractive in the right place, can also become a dangerous, slippery menace. Treat with Yates Surrender Mosskiller and try to expose the affected pathway or lawn to more air and sunlight. This may mean aerating the soil, or pruning overhanging branches to allow more sunlight through.

Peach leaf curl
In spring the new leaves of peaches and nectarines often become twisted and contorted as a result of this fungal disease but by the time you see this damage it’s too late to treat. The critical time for control is just as the new buds show a tiny bit of colour. Spray thoroughly with a copper fungicide, like the readily-dissolvable Champ DP.

August job file
Plant a selection of herbs into a pot (pictured) that can be sited right outside the door. That way herbs will be right on hand for picking. Don’t plant basil yet, though. Wait until night temperatures are warm and frosts are well and truly over for the year.

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