News - Page 77

Count your butterflies

Count your butterflies for this year's Big Butterfly Count, the initiative run by Butterfly Conservation which draws on ordinary gardeners to help monitor populations of this much-loved but endangered garden regular.

All you have to do is find a quiet spot somewhere in your garden any time between now and the end of August, sit down for 15 minutes and record any butterflies you see. You'll find an ID chart and full instructions on the website...

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Give your garden a late-summer makeover

Give your garden a late-summer makeover to spruce up your borders and encourage a second flush of flowers and foliage to take you into the autumn refreshed and raring to go.

Giving a haircut to perennials which flowered earlier in the season often encourages a late burst of flowers. Hardy geraniums respond really well to this: snip back all the top growth from early summer favourites like 'Rozanne', 'Philippe Vapelle' and 'Ann Folkard' to abo...

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What to do in the garden in August:

The garden is nothing if not colourful this month, what with the day-glo colours of late summer dazzling beneath brilliantly-coloured butterflies. Keep it looking gorgeous with our list of jobs to be getting on with this month:

 

General tasks:

Keep up with the harvest, whether it's fruit, vegetables or cutting flowers, as regular picking keeps the produce coming

 

Clear away earl...

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Help your lawn survive the summer

Help your lawn survive the summer by taking a few simple precautions which will help it get through the long, hot spell without lasting damage.

Luckily grass is incredibly resilient so even if yours is looking more like straw by now, it'll bounce back the moment the rain starts again. A little extra top growth helps protect the roots and keep them cool, though, so set the mower at a higher level than normal to prevent it drying out as much.

If you deci...

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Enjoy a celebration of all that's good in gardening this week

Enjoy a celebration of all that's good in gardening this week as one of the country's friendliest garden shows gets under way at Tatton Park near Knutsford in Cheshire.

All your favourite features are at the North's most keenly anticipated horticultural event. Don't miss the ever-popular National Flowerbed Competition in which council parks departments vie with each other to produce the most eye-popping displays using only bedding plants.

Around 90 lea...

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Give your pond a summer makeover

Give your pond a summer makeover while it's in full growth and problems are instantly visible. While you're at it, treat yourself to some of the fabulous summer-flowering water plants you'll find in our garden centre too, from pretty floating water forget-me-not to zingy purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria).

Follow our checklist to keep your pond in perfect condition this summer:

Get rid of algae: twist bla...

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Plant of the week - Cotinus

Who needs flowers for rich, sumptuous colour? The deep, burgundy leaves of a Cotinus mean you'll never be short of something spectacular to look at. Also known as the smoke bush, those deliciously vibrant leaves are topped with clouds of pink flowers in late summer: the leaves also turn scarlet before falling in autumn.

'Grace' is probably the best known, and the largest at about 6m tall. Others to try are 'Royal Purple', with the deepest coloured leaves, or...

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Keep the greenhouse pest free!

Keep the greenhouse pest free by staying alert for signs of pests and diseases. This is the time of year when many come out of hiding and start to feast on your tomatoes, cucumbers and melons, turning them from healthy plants to sickly, mottled and struggling ones – so it's worth taking action early.

Use a yellow sticky trap as an early warning of trouble ahead: you'll often see greenhouse pe...

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Plant autumn-flowering bulbs now

Plant autumn-flowering bulbs now for an injection of late colour that will have your garden performing at its peak right into winter.

Showy autumn flowerers are a great way of pepping up your borders if they're prone to late-summer flagging. Pack containers for a sunny spot on the patio, or fill your borders with the season's last hurrah.

Here are five late-season spectaculars you'll find right now in our garden centre:

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Plant of the Week: Hydrangea

Was there ever a plant more glamorous than a hydrangea? These showy, elegant shrubs are a great way to add colour and class to your garden, and fantastic value for money with their long season of interest from vibrant young growth in spring, through those spectacular flowers, staying on the plant well into winter.

Choose from Hydrangea macrophylla, the traditional mopheads which turn blue if you've got acid soil; or Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' with its...

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