Just a few days into August and we have seen some heavy showers – not that I am complaining!

Last August I was kept very busy watering just about everything in the garden. This year I just been busy with watering the planters and containers.

However, the recent warm and wet weather has meant the garden is putting on a lot of growth. I have been busy trimming the hedges and cutting back ivy which is growing aside of the house – some of the new growth extends by around by 60cm or more! So I have plenty of green waste for the compost heap.

Neighbours have been busy cutting back their garden privet and hawthorn hedging – they do look tidy. The lawn is also putting on strong growth and I have cut my own lawn twice in the last week, though it’s been a little challenging trying to cut in between the showers – despite having a collection box on the mower the grass clippings still manged to occasionally clump on the lawn (I removed these using a lawn rake).

The floral borders and planters are now reaching their peak and I’m kept busy dead-heading. It’s a laborious task but an important one to keep the blooms flowering for longer and attracting pollinating insects.

Some of the heavy showers have done quite a bit of damage to my blooms, though – my large-blooming roses have seen their petals knocked to the grown and most of my petunias’ blooms have collapsed under the weight of the rain. Generally, though, the garden is looking very colourful.

My kitchen garden has also put on a lot of growth, to the point I have a vegetable glut. Despite sowing and planting a few weeks apart, I find it frustrating when they catch up with each other. For a few weeks now, the Sunday roast has been provided with 100 per cent of the vegetables from the kitchen garden and the taste of very fresh vegetables is something you just cannot get from the supermarket veg!

I’m currently harvesting a wide range of vegetables which includes staples such as potatoes, cabbage, swede, carrots, peas and runner beans, but I have also grown orange and purple cauliflowers as well as the traditional white. They do look strange and can take a bit of getting used to, but they taste just as good as white curds.

When you cook them, I suggest steaming rather than boiling as the colour from the curd leaches into the boiling water. Oh, and of the three cauliflower colours, the orange one makes the best-looking cauliflower cheese!

This year has been a good one for fruit, and all my soft fruit has cropped well, particularly my strawberries. This week my large plum tree is providing a bumper crop but the ripening plums have attracted loads of plum wasps which are now eating the fruits. Most annoying is that I’m growing the plums for my own use, not the wasps’!

So what can I do to save the fruits from such damage? Well applying a pesticide is out of the equation – I am not keen to harvest fruit that has come into contact with a pesticide. I could cover the tree with an insect net or fleece which would provide a barrier and prevent the wasps getting to the fruits. However, the tree is pretty large and would take some covering, and as the tree is covered with wasps I could trap quite a few of them within the net or fleece. Also, I could get stung trying to cover the tree – remember wasps sting multiple times!

The good news is that I have solved the plum wasp problem, as you can see from this week’s photograph – by erecting a false wasps’ nest in the plum tree. Wasps are territorial and will avoid a competitor’s nest. All I can say is it has worked in my case – and I’m now harvesting the plums, not the wasps!