Gardening: Action plan for August

Geranium
Geranium
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AUGUST is very much a betwixt and between month for gardeners.

While many crops are coming to fruition and harvest festivals are in mind, there is much planting and action necessary for the future.

Geraniums are now at their best but, apart from admiring them, late August is a time to earmark the best and take cuttings for overwintering to enjoy them again next year.

Use a gritty compost, select non-flowering shoots and root four or five cuttings in a 5-inch pot. Take tip cuttings approx three inches long and insert these around the edge of the pot, water well and place in a coldframe. Ventilate well on all good days and water sparingly.

Osteospurmums are not truly hardy in this area but are so popular and give such a great display.

Here again take cuttings of your favourite varieties and treat them exactly as geraniums, above.

Autumn catalogues of both spring bulbs and fruit have been dropping through my letterbox for weeks. Autumn is by far the right time to plant fruit of all types. Lots of new and exciting varieties are listed with strawberries and gooseberries very much to the fore.

The emphasis in the bulb catalogues is very much for tulips – always a banker with me. While UK production is now virtually nil, a galaxy of new and re-vamped cultivars are available which should make next April/May a colourful sight to behold.

My advice is order early – supplies are available from September.

Unpack on receipt and keep really cool. Buy the larger sizes – these always give the best results – and buy more of fewer varieties.

Planting bold clumps of one variety gives the greatest impact.

Tulip bulbs range in size from 8cm to 14cm with the tallest types growing from the larger sizes.

Aim for 11/12cm for the tall types and 9/10cm for dwarf types.

Buying in quantity and sharing with friends is a sure way to cut costs as carriage charges are high.