IT'S THE WEEKEND: Grow It - How to get a gorgeous display of hydrangeas

First published in News by

IF YOU planted fruit and vegetables earlier in the year then August is a month of harvesting - after all that’s what all the hard work was for earlier in the year. However, if plants are more your style, then enjoy the holiday season and the late blooms of garden flowers such as anemone and hydrangea.

Musician, singer and keen gardener Katie Melua is a big fan of hydrangeas.

"Even as a singular flower head, a hydrangea is majestic to me," she said. "Flowering from summer all the way through to autumn, large cone shaped hydrangea flowers command a lot of attention.

"The variety and richness of colours from white to the deepest purples are another glorious quality of this plant. Even when the flower is dying, the textures of the tiny flowers and the large florets, means the colours carrying on.

"I used a lot of hydrangeas at my September wedding and was able to keep and dry nearly all of them. They still fill the house with that richness and bring back the lovely memories of that day.”

There are two types of flowering hydrangeas - mophead flowers are large round flowerheads resembling pom-poms and lacecap flowers bear round, flat flowerheads.

Over the winter, hydrangeas will lose their leaves but being fully hardy will re-leaf the following year. Flower colour changes depending on soil condition. Hydrangeas should be planted in a moist area in full sun to partial shade, but are normally very easy to grow and low maintenance.

August is usually the month when most of us go on holiday and leave our gardens to fend for themselves. A little thought before you go, and some tender loving care when you return, will be enough to make sure that you can go away without worrying about your efforts in the garden going to waste and you really relax on your holiday. Make sure that, before you go, you make provision for the watering of the garden and containers and when you return dead-heading bedding, roses and other plants will all help to bring the garden back to life again after your absence.

If you are holidaying at home then it will give you some time to start planning your spring bulb display so get out those bulb catalogues, have a look and start deciding which bulbs you would like to order.

Other top tips for this month from the Royal Horticultural Society and National Garden Gift Vouchers:

• Prune wisteria

• Don’t delay summer pruning restricted fruits

• Deadhead flowering plants regularly

• Watering - particularly containers and new plants, preferably with grey recycled water or stored rainwater

• Collect seed from favourite plants

• Harvest sweetcorn and other vegetables as they become ready

• Continue cutting out old fruited canes on raspberries

• Lift and pot up rooted strawberry runners

• Keep ponds and water features topped up

• Feed the soil with green manures.

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