I hope you have been able to enjoy your garden during this exceptionally good summer and that the heat hasn’t been too much for you. It has meant quite a bit of watering but I am getting some really good vegetables and it looks as though there will be a good plum crop.
One part of the garden that may not have enjoyed the dry weather is the lawn. Once we have had some proper rain ( and it is in short supply as I write this) lawns will grow green again quite quickly but there may be dead patches or grass has been damaged by overhanging plants. Damage can be repaired either by sowing the affected area or by inserting a piece of turf. If you use seed, rake over the bare patch to loosen the soil and add a thin layer of sieved top soil. After sowing, put thin sticks or canes round the area and crisscross fine black thread or cotton to deter the birds. Rather than buying new turf you may be able to find a patch of grass you no longer need ( perhaps by enlarging a border) or lawn that has grown out over a paved area. If you are repairing a patch which is damaged at a border edge, one method is to take out with a spade a square of turf ( about an inch thick) that has some good grass on the inner edge and reverse it so that the good edge runs along the border. You can then sow the bare patch, or let it regrow naturally, but you will have a sharp edge on the border side. One problem of buying new turf is that it may not match the existing turf.
September is the best time for planting most varieties of spring bulbs. Bulbs will be in the garden centres now or you may still be in time to use a mail order catalogue. There will be a great opportunity for buying bulbs at the Arthritis Research Spring Bulb sale at Milton Ernest village hall on Saturday 6 September from 9.00am to 12.00. You will be able to buy tulips now but, as I have mentioned before, it is recommended that tulip planting is delayed until November. Bulbs can be planted in borders or containers or naturalised in grass. Planting depth in borders or grass should be with soil two or three times the height of the bulb above the bulb. When you are naturalising bulbs in grass they look best if you throw the bulbs randomly over the desired area rather than laying them out regularly spaced. A tip from Alan Titchmarsh is to roll back the turf in the bulb planting area to make it easier to dig the holes. In any event it is worth waiting for a planting time when the soil is not dry and hard.
When you read this the Biddenham Show on Sunday 7th September will be almost upon us. If you haven’t yet entered fruit, flowers or vegetables there is still time but there is a deadline of Thursday 4th September. If you haven’t seen a programme you will find details at www.biddenhamshow.org. Entries can be submitted on line or delivered to 6, Nodders Way or 8 Ison Close. Exhibit staging will only be on Sunday morning this year between 8.15 and 9.45am. Judging will begin shortly after this so there will be no opportunity for staging later than 9.45. The number of entries was significantly higher last year and we hope this trend will continue. A good number of entries makes it more fun for the competitors and more interesting for visitors to the Show.