The Month Of August
by Michelle Brett
Long, lazy summer days with picnics, tall drinks to while away the warm evenings sitting outside and stargazing; Michelle Brett details all that August has to offer.
The idea of August is mesmerising, but whilst temperatures are dependably warm, the energy of the heat and humidity can often lead to thunder, lightning and torrential rain. The word August comes from the Latin word augustus, meaning ‘consecrated’ or ‘venerable’. In 8 BC, the Roman Senate honoured Augustus Caesar, the first Roman emperor, by changing the name of the month to ‘Augustus’.
In the Kitchen
Make the most of the summer produce – sweetcorn, tomatoes, beetroot, peppers are all in season along with French and runner beans. Plums are at their best in August and the first figs and melons start to ripen along with berries, apricots and peaches. A veritable feast for the eyes, taste buds and stomach!
From the hedgerows, pick wild blackberries for they have the complexity of flavour that is completely lacking in cultivated types. Look for berries with a fat, black shine to get a blast of fully ripe sweetness! Cobnuts are also ready to be picked – as well as elderberries. From the sea, fish in season include plaice, mackerel, sardines and there is plenty of seafood being caught along our coast including squid, crab, lobster and scallops.
In the Garden
Now is the time to be collecting the seed pods for plants that you’re planning to reseed, and of course – those that you don’t want to reseed! Harvesting is the main job in the vegetable plot; gather regularly and frequently to benefit from enjoying the sweetest and most tender of the crop before it over-ripens.
Once the lavender has finished flowering, trim it back to stop it growing leggy. Cut back and mow any wild flowering meadows but leave the clippings to reseed. It may seem early, but now’s the time to plan and order your spring flowering bulbs – they may not be available later in the season!
Facts and Figures
The August days are drawing in more as the month continues, and by the end of the month we’ll have lost another one hour and forty-six minutes, to make the daylight thirteen hours and thirty-eight minutes. But for the swimmers amongst us, the sea temperature in Sussex continues on its rise and this month can reach 16.9°. Make the most of it, as after next month it will start to drop again!
The birth flower of August is the Gladiolus (from Latin, the diminutive of gladius, a sword – plural gladioli), and the birth stone is Peridot. A lime green stone believed to bring power and influence to its wearer. If you’ve an August birthday, then you’ll have been born under either the Leo or Virgo zodiac sign, and share the month with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Barack Obama (who were both born on the 4th), Sean Connery (25th), Roger Federer (8th) and Stephen Fry (24th) to name a few!
Have a wonderful August!