Since I was probably quite late in sowing some flower seeds, August is the month that we've most enjoyed in terms of all round container colour and you'll see my picks of the flowers I grew in photos through this post.
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Gardener's Delight Tomatoes
Even Monty Don declared on Gardener's World that this had been a bad year for tomatoes due to the inconsistent weather and cold snaps during the summer months. Unfortunately it's been my very first year growing them but the experience, which has been an exercise in extreme patience, hasn't put me off, far from it.
Despite waiting an age for any of these fruits to ripen, we are now enjoying quite the glut of these and are now picking ripe ones daily to enjoy. We've had them in numerous ways from fresh to fried to chopped up and used in lasagne, bolognese and curry. Since we eat many tomato based sauces and foods it's no real hardship to use these up. Next year I plan to grow some more of these along with some different varieties too.
Lollo Rossa Lettuce
Another item harvested this month was the pretty frilly leaved Lollo Rossa lettuce which is being grown in individual containers as a cut and come again variety. This means I'm snipping leaves off each plant, one or two at a time, as needed and allowing regrowth to occur.
These have been fantastic. If you read my blog post on them below, you'll learn that I was worried I would not be able to save these poor, straggly specimens when they were seedlings. However, with a bit of TLC, they rallied and they've been fantastically easy to grow ever since.
Combining the Harvest into a BLT (Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato) Sandwich Bun
If it's sunny, they go outside; if it's bad weather they stay in the polytunnel. And they get watered everyday. I feed once a week with a drench of liquid seaweed and that's it. They look beautiful, have been easy to grow and are pleasant to eat. They look great in a salad and also in a bread bun as a yummy and fancy looking BLT too!
Also growing in my 'veg patch' are a couple of beetroot plants (no idea on variety as they were stragglers sent home from school) some turnips, swede and a variety of seeds recently planted for autumn and winter crops. It's exciting to see what works and what doesn't.
Favourite August Garden Flowers and Plants
Violas: I purchased some of these in the early Spring and I also bought a mixed pack of Viola Cornuta seeds to grow. This is one that I grew from seed and it's beautiful. The violas have added non-stop colour to the garden all Spring and Summer. They've been really easy to grow and have flowered repeatedly in response to me deadheading and cutting away tired blooms.
They've been very reliable performers for flowering and I recommend these for beginner gardeners to grow. You do need to watch out for slugs and snails who seem to love nibbling on these. I keep picking slugs and snails out from the viola containers and placing them at the back of the garden. They are persistent but they never do too much damage - luckily these tend to grow back pretty well.
Lupins: Also grown from seed were these Lupin flowers. I don't think I'd recommend these for beginners to grow since I lost a lot of the seedlings and young plants to slugs and snails who apparently love these plants with a passion. I managed to save about 8 plants out of some 20-30 sown initially and I now have 2 containers potted up with pretty pink and purple flowers.
They started to flower in August and the bees have been particularly keen on these. The tall spires add really nice bright pops of colour and, since they are perennial like the Violas, I look forward to getting more from them next year too.
Poppies: My husband noticed a free offer for a packet of wild flowers which he sent away for. Out of all the flowers that sprang up (and there were some nice cornflowers too) these poppies were my favourite. They look stunning and they are a magnet for insect life and attract insects like crazy. Just a shame that the flowers don't last all that long and the petals are so fragile that heavy rain obliterates them in a flash. But nice while they lasted. I plan on saving seeds for next year.