Wildlife makes your garden grow

Gardens can come to life in August
Gardens can come to life in August

AT this time of year the garden can provide a real ‘harvest’ – particularly if you planted fruit and vegetables earlier in the year.

August is a busy month in any garden that has fruit trees or a thriving vegetable patch because it’s a month of gathering and preserving.

But it’s only through pollination that we have the fruits of earlier blossoms which is why making sure you have a garden that attracts bees and wildlife is so important. One in three people now do things specifically to encourage wildlife into their garden with one in four now providing nesting and breeding habitats (PlantforLife Environment Report 2011). Some 62% of us already feed birds in our gardens and 28% avoid buying products that will be harmful to wildlife. In fact, research shows that 75% of UK gardeners agree that it is important that their gardens support wildlife like birds and bees.

The countryside used to be rich in wild plants and animals, but natural habitats are disappearing at a startling rate. Gardens are quickly becoming important havens for a wide range of birds, mammals, amphibians and invertebrates. With just one £50 National Garden Gift Voucher you can create a luxury hotel for wildlife in your back garden whilst increasing the colour, movement, sound, interest and enjoyment of your garden. By choosing certain types of plants you can create an environment that would be particularly attractive to birds (berry producing plants such as elder and ivy) and bees and butterflies (colourful and scented plants such as lavender and fragrant blossomed fruit trees).

sweetly fragrant plant that can be used to attract wildlife such as bees and insects into the garden is phlox. Flowering in mid Summer through to the end of the Autumn, phlox is a superb hardy herbaceous perennial originally from North America, with scented star-shaped pink, white and purple/blue flowers. It is the ideal border plant, often used in cottage gardens, but is also good as a cut flower and can grow quite tall so may need some support. Phlox likes a well nourished soil that has been enriched with rotted compost or manure and prefers full sun although it can tolerate partial shade.

In late autumn cut the stems right down to the base and then mulch in early spring.

August is usually one of the hottest months of the year - making watering essential, along with other jobs such as: Prune wisteria and shrubs; Deadhead flowering plants regularly; Water - particularly containers, and new plants - with grey recycled water or stored rainwater; Collect seed from favourite plants; Harvest fruit and vegetables as they become ready and plant winter vegetables; Lift and pot rooted strawberry runners; Look after the lawn; Plan for next year and what bulbs to plant this coming Autumn.