So much for the ‘languid month of August’ and ‘lazy days basking in the sun’! What a damp, thundery and windy squib August was. On the plus side, at least parched beds and scorched lawns benefitted and the ground is now gulping in much needed moisture in preparation for the planting season on the horizon.
In the absence of the aforementioned balmy days, sheltering from the deluge and planning ahead is the name of the game at this time of year; hedges, trees and shrubs are the backbone of our gardens and best planted bareroot – do have a look at the website and put your orders in early.
Cyclamen hederifolium – their pretty pink ‘piglet-ear’ flowers steal the show in the most unexpected places in August and September, well before the leaves put in an appearance. Cyclamen coum follows the same pattern but a few months later. Insects love them, pollinate them and exit stage left to allow for some fascinating natural trickery. The stalks wind around the seed pods, which swell and eventually split. The stalks shrink back, allowing the sticky seeds to flop away from the pod and bingo – birds and insects are utterly seduced and carry the seeds whither they will. Clever stuff.
September’s the perfect time to plant cyclamen; they’re gratifyingly unspoilt, hating rich soil and asking only for a crust of stale bread, well-drained spot and shallow planting. Not much for something that flowers for generations and brightens autumn and winter gardens with such finesse and delicacy!
At the risk of being repetitive, keep deadheading roses, dahlias, sweetpeas, penstemons and anything else you can lay your hands on that looks like a suitable candidate.

Deadheading at this time of year will keep your garden looking better for longer than anything else.
And if you didn't clip your beech hedge in August, do it now and it will hold its leaves all through winter.
Planning and preparing for hedges. Measure the length, choose your hedge type, order the appropriate quantity online and weedkill thoroughly (or if you prefer a more natural approach, cut down weeds, then do it again before covering the area with a weed suppressing fabric such as Mypex before planting).

Planting spring bulbs and climbers.
In these strange Covid 19 times, nothing is the same. Least of all Christmas tree buying. Forecourt sales will most likely disappear, so this year we are only supplying our fabulous, locally-grown Nordman Fir Christmas trees by mail order.

We’re tagging trees this month, so orders must be placed by the end of September. Your Christmas beauty will be delivered in the week commencing 7th December only, to avoid the inevitable courier overload in the following couple of weeks so get ahead of the online shopping rush and give you maximum time to enjoy your tree.

Who needs socially distanced queuing on a bitter, dank December day when you can do it like this?
  • Move evergreen shrubs.
  • Renovate your poor battered and possibly patchy lawn; use a reputable feed, weed and mosskiller, scarify and aerate.
  • Clear containers of summer bedding and plant with pansies, violas and spring bulbs in fresh compost.
  • Divide overgrown perennials and plant new ones.
  • On the deadheading front, remember spent dahlia flowers are pointed and soft – easily confused with the buds, which are blunter and firm.
  • Pick vegetables regularly and plant perpetual spinach and chard for winter and spring. Leeks too.
  • Harvest fruits and berries – continue with the jam and chutney making marathon.
  • Clear garden debris but spare a thought for hedgehogs and other wildlife and leave a bit of mess for them!
Your recipe for the week
Damson Gin

  • 1 Litre Gin
  • 500g Damsons
  • 250g Caster Sugar
  1. Rinse and remove any leaves and stalks from the Damsons, then pat dry. Tip into a freezer bag and freeze overnight. The next day, bash the bag of damsons a couple of times with a rolling pin and then tip the lot into a 2-litre Kilner jar, or divide between 2 smaller jars.
  2. Pour in the gin and sugar, and put the lid on. Put it in a cool, dark place, then shake each day for a week until the sugar has dissolved and leave for 2-3 months.
  3. Line a plastic sieve with a square of muslin (or use a coffee filter in a cone for a really refined gin) and strain the damson gin through it. Decant into clean, dry bottles, seal and label. The gin is now ready to drink, but will improve and mature over time – it will keep for over a year, if you can wait that long...
Daffodils for Spring Splendour

I always think of March as the yellow month. As spring arrives, gardens explode with colour as forsythia, primroses, crocuses, and daffodils come into bloom.

Click here to read more.
Front Gardens

One of the positives to come out of lockdown was the opportunity to slow down and take in our surroundings a little more.

Click here to read more.
We deliver more than 2,500 varieties of plants direct to your door – garden and fruit trees, bulbs, climbers, roses, lavender, soft fruit, flowers, herbs and accessories. Have a look online and leave the rest to us – we look forward to hearing from you, and in the meantime enjoy your garden and (hopefully!) some lovely weather.  
Fruit Trees
Garden Trees
Soft Fruit
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Grove Cross Barn, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7NJ
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Thank you, The Ashridge Nurseries Team.

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