This month in your garden

Hot, humid August nights bring out the heavy perfumes of Cestrum nocturnum, Carissa macrocarpa, Jasminum officinale and Datura.

New shoots of Wisteria sinensis may have panicles of small scented flowers on them. Tie the shoots in to the main branches carefully. Many plants are struggling to survive and there may be some losses in the garden by the end of the summer. Shrubs, like Euonymus, and others with variegated foliage, may have been burned by the sun on the top-most branches. However, leave dealing with them until the autumn. Even cacti and succulents are wilting.    Normally they would have taken up sufficient moisture during the winter and spring to sustain them through these hot months. The huge leaves of  Agave americana ‘Variegata’ will be bending inwards, to protect the inner leaves, and the fleshy stems and leaves of Aeonium arboreum will be very dry and dead-looking.  Dahlias and gladioli in my garden have not fared well at all, with the merciless sun beating down on them, and even agapanthus plants have suffered in part-shade.  I covered late-flowering summer bulbs, Nerine bowdenii, with compost and hope that they will survive to give me autumn colour. There are reports of leaves prematurely falling off trees as well immature fruits, which doesn’t bode well for the harvests.