August can be a difficult month for flowers as we tend to buy plants in spring when mainly spring and early summer plants are on sale and find we have little to give colour in late summer. So go out and see what is available now by visiting nurseries and gardens. There are ideas for gardens to visit below.
If you require height in your summer borders and have an open sunny site I would recommend Veronicastrum virginicum Fascination. A long name and a very tall plant up to 1.2m in height with spires of pinkish flowers for a few weeks. They need some staking and moisture retentive soil so are not suitable for dry soils.
Another unusual perennial plant is Chelone obliqua which will do well in sun or light shade in heavier soil that retains moisture. It will grow to 75cm tall and has heads of shell like pink flowers in summer and early autumn.
For those with wet boggy soil and space why not try Eupatorium which will grow to 1.5m and spreads into large clumps. Pink flat heads of flowers would look great with Monarda or Bee Balm with deep red flowers. The Geraniums Rozanne or Buxtons Blue both flower for a long period and give a carpet of blue flowers under or around taller plants.
On the vegetable patch you should now be pinching out the tops of runner beans to encourage flowering and the production of beans. Cover cabbages and other brassicas with netting to prevent Cabbage White butterflies laying eggs with the caterpillars hatching and consuming your plants. Or you can do what I do and pick the eggs and caterpillars off the plants! Broccoli and sprout plants will need staking for winter. Pinch out the side shoots on tomatoes and give them a feed to encourage more fruit to form.
If you would like to visit gardens for planting ideas and a lovely afternoon tea, I suggest you look out for gardens open under the National Gardens Scheme where all proceeds go to charities including Marie Cure Cancer Care and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Two gardens to visit in August. 218 Marple Road, Stockport is open on Sunday 2nd August and has an acre of gardens with herbaceous borders, ponds and vegetable plot. 21 Scafell Close is open on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd August. This large suburban garden has annual borders, pond and modern terraced garden.