August already and there's a slight change in the weather; cooler temperatures and some rainfall makes being on the Nursery an easier working experience, especially when it comes to watering our polytunnels. The heat and humidity there has made it feel like the tropics, of late.
The continuing warmth has meant that our new potting is rooting in record time, which is great for our customers, as we can get it out for sale much sooner.
Some of the early/mid-summer flowering perennials have now finished their first flush of flowers, and spent flowers/seed heads now need to be trimmed back, along with any gangly foilage. We find that adding just a bit of feed and top dressing soon encourages new leafy growth which looks a lot better in your borders or pots and most will re-flower, though not as exclusively as before. Whilst the soil is warm and recently 'watered', it's an ideal time to plant new herbaceous perennials as they will establish quickly
Right down on ground level, Houttuynia 'Pied Piper' is an easy, undemanding ground cover plant. With its highly aromatic green, yellow and red foliage it also looks great in containers. It is happiest in sun or part shade and is guaranteed to brighten up any border.
Tall specimens like Veronica crinita 'Mammuth' with their deep purple flowers or Rudbeckia Herbstsonne with deep golden flowers atop 1.8m stems look dramatic at the back of the border and will flower well into the autumn. Another favourite of mine is Succisa pratensis which has small lavender purple pincushion like flowers on whippy, wiry stems. Standing around 1.5m high or more it is light and airy, and teamed with a blue grass such as Panicum 'Dallas Blues', looks absolutely stunning.
Customers have admired our huge Tetrapanax 'papyrifer rex' outside the Garden Cafe. This tropical looking plant (available in the Growing Nursery), has large lobed dramatic foliage in grey/green and has actually survived everything the winter could throw at it; not only that, it's had numerous babies to boot! Give it a bit of shelter in a warm spot in the garden, and it should be fine. Winter protection might be advisable when they are very small, in the form of fleece but once bigger and more established, they should go from strength to strength. It certainly adds drama and is a real talking point in any garden.
Let's hope we still have some warm and sunny weather to come, along with showers at night - the gardeners' ideal! This month, there's still lots to see and admire on the Growing Nursery so come along and take a look.