The Gardening Coach: Chelsea Flower Show and 5 gardening tips

PUBLISHED: 14:08 04 August 2016 | UPDATED: 09:55 09 August 2016

The striking Kangaroo paw from Australia (Photo: Thinkstock)

The striking Kangaroo paw from Australia (Photo: Thinkstock)


Judy Shardlow’s horticultural advice for August

Contrasting planting in the Fire and Ice borderContrasting planting in the Fire and Ice border

Chelsea Flower Show is the gold standard of garden design. And although we don’t all have the budget that these world-class gardens command, we can take a few tips from these amazing installations to use in our own homes.

One key principle to good design is ‘less is more’. Andy Sturgeon’s ‘Captured landscape’ garden for The Daily Telegraph demonstrated this beautifully, a garden of textured, low-key blue, green and silver plants against a backdrop of dramatic bronze shapes and pale stone. He used no more than a few hot-coloured plants to create vivid spots of brightness in orange and red, mirroring the heat and flames of the fire pit at the heart of the garden.

Fiery-coloured Canary Island foxgloves (Digitalis canariensis), exotic red ‘Kangeroo paw’ (Angiozanthus) from Australia and sun-loving succulents delosperma ‘Orange Wonder’ created vivid flashes of colour in an otherwise calm and peaceful garden. It takes skill and discipline to use colour with such restraint, but the contrast and effect is stunning.

You may want your garden to be a riot of colour, and why not? But if you are aiming for something more contemporary, try to keep it simple. Use plants as a backdrop and others as stars of the show. Reduce the range of plants in a border but use more of them for dramatic effect and use hot-coloured focal-point plants to draw attention to areas of your garden.

Five things to do in the garden in August

Holiday care

If you’re going away, group patio containers together and install a temporary drip watering system.

Collect seeds

Remove seedheads from ‘Nigella’ and ‘Aqualegias’ foxgloves and use them to fill gaps in borders for next year.

Order bulbs

Choose your spring bulbs now – ready for delivery and planting in September.

Cut back chives

Chives can be cut back hard now to give fresh new growth to serve with salads, potatoes and salmon.

Summer pruning

Wisteria tendrils can now be cut back to five or six buds to ensure good flowering performance next year. Feed regularly with a high potassium feed such as Tomorite.

Judy Shardlow is an RHS award-winning garden designer and coach.

01438 833858

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