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AugustIn the Garden This Month
Many summer perennials finish flowering this month and the overblown borders can have a pastel, washed out look until they are revived with richly coloured autumn daisies including Helenium and Rudbeckia. Late summer shrubs will be providing colour now – Buddlejas, with their fat spikes of fragrant flowers tempting Butterflies and insects, and Abelia whose pink flowers are a favourite with bees. Dahlias and tender Salvias will continue to produce their vibrant flowers until they are bought up short by the first frosts of autumn, a reminder to us all that winter is on the way once again.
The last few weeks of the summer holidays are a time to enjoy our gardens with impromptu entertaining and dining ‘al fresco’ if the British weather allows! The vegetable garden is groaning under the strain of crops to be harvested, as freezers and jam jars are filling with the excess to be used through the winter months.
In the countryside, farmers trim the hedges and begin to harvest the grain. Buzzards may be seen hovering above the grain fields waiting for the chance to swoop on rabbits as their cover is cleared. Swifts leave for Africa in the middle of the month but Swallows and Martins are with us for a little longer yet. Many butterflies are on the wing now including Skippers and the russet coloured Gatekeeper. Both these species are easily tempted to a well stocked garden.
Dragonflies and Damselflies dart around near water and river banks are laced with Meadowsweet and the purple spikes of Willowherb, amongst other moisture loving plants. You may see Swallows skimming over ponds and lakes to catch tiny insects as they hover above the surface.
Many of the birds visiting your garden may be looking scruffy as they moult through what is their ‘downtime’. Youngsters will have fledged and are now independent so the adults can concentrate on recovering before they begin to fuel up on berries and seeds ahead of the winter.