More gardening tips from Audley End House’s head gardener

Audley End garden

Audley End garden - Credit: Archant

August is a fabulous month in the garden with glorious colours, an abundance of fruit and vegetables, heady scents and hopefully plenty of sunshine to relax and enjoy the garden.

Audley End garden

Audley End garden - Credit: Archant

The combination of the wet and warm weather over the last couple of weeks has been perfect for the garden and has kept us very busy at Audley End. There has been lots of pruning, planting, deadheading, mowing and harvesting and this will continue throughout this month.

At Audley End we are excited to see the summer bedding display develop in the Parterre, a combination of annual plants including Californian Poppies, Rudbeckias, Zinnias and Salvias are all beginning to look fabulous. We continue to monitor these plants with frequent deadheading and also focusing on keeping the beds weed free to avoid competition. These colourful plants will give a stunning display for the next few months so this is a great time to visit.

Dahlias are a real favourite at Audley End. These show stopping plants are a must for every garden. Easy to grow, a long flowering period and a wonderful range of colours – they really are hard to beat. We have a sumptuous selection this season in the Pond Garden including three of my favourites, Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’, Dahlia ‘David Howard’ and Dahlia ‘Nuit D’ete’. We continue to deadhead and water if necessary – they thrive in rich moisture retentive soil.

Top jobs this month include:

Prune Wisteria after flowering by removing the whippy side-shoots from the main branch framework to about five leaves from their base.

Cut back faded perennials to encourage them to put on a second flush of foliage. Give them a good water after cutting them back and they will soon respond with new growth. Hardy Geraniums and Catmint (Nepeta) are good examples.

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Take cuttings of your favourite tender perennials including Fuschia and Pelargonium. Our show house in the Kitchen Garden boasts a fantastic range of these beauties and this month we will be propagating one of my favourites, Pelargonium ‘Lord Bute’.

Plenty of harvesting continues this month. Runner beans, main crop potatoes, salad crops, raspberries, onions, beetroot, tomatoes and much more should all be ready in August.

Summer fruit pruning of restricted forms such as cordons, espaliers, fans and step overs. Pruning trained apples and pears allows sunlight to ripen the fruit and ensures good cropping the following year.

If you have been to Audley End Kitchen Garden you will have seen our extensive collection of trained fruit, including more than 150 varieties of apples and 60 varieties of pear. I will be talking about these more in September ahead of our Apple Festival, but for now ... I have some pruning to tackle.

Hope to see you over the summer holidays at one of our great events.

Do you have a gardening question for Alan North? Send them to or to 54 High Street, Saffron Walden, CB10 1EE.