August looks like being a slightly cooler time in the garden than we’ve had of late. So, you may have more energy to carry out those August gardening jobs that need doing. Here are some of our suggestions:
Encourage longer flowering
- Deadheading your plants is essential, particularly bedding and patio plants so that they continue to flower well into autumn. Roses need to be deadheaded too, to encourage the next flush of blooms. Water and feed them well to ensure they stay full of energy.
- Hydrangeas usually look good in August, we’ve seen some fine specimens around. It’s a good idea to add fertilizers with potash to give the plants a boost and keep them flowering even longer.
- Sweet peas epitomize summer with their wonderful perfume. Keep picking the flowers so that more are produced. Again, keep applying fertilizer when watering to encourage long-term flowering.
Fruit and veg
- Strawberries will have produced most of their fruit by now, so time to root new runners off your plants. Peg down runners and cut from parent plant when rooted. Trip off all old foliage with shears so that they are neat and disease-free from now on.
- Gooseberries and currants will be ripening and ready for picking. Keep well-watered to encourage fruit to swell. Protect the gooseberries against the sawfly by spraying with an insecticide.
- Tomatoes will be producing fruit for picking now but continue to pinch out side shoots as necessary. Water every day to prevent the compost from drying out as otherwise the fruits split or get blossom end rot.
- Ensure runner beans are well watered or the flowers will drop and the crop reduce. There should be plenty of bees around for pollination.
- Plums are ready to harvest this month but inspect fruit regularly, so you can pick out any which are rotten – these could infect healthy fruit. Overcrowding of fruit contributes to this problem so thin out as necessary.
- Harvest onions, shallots and garlic once the foliage has died back. Dig them up on a dry day and leave on top of the earth to dry out in the sun. Once dry, lay them on a tray in a shed or greenhouse for a couple of weeks. After this they can be tied up for use in the kitchen.
New plants to add now
- You should be seeing butterflies in your garden so ensure you have plants with their favourite nectars. Lavenders, Nepeta, Sea Holly (Eryngium), Buddleias and Lavatera are some they would choose to visit.
- Perfume is a must for the summer garden. Honeysuckle and Jasmine for the climbers, but scented double Petunias are wonderful. Look out for Priscilla, which provides hundreds of sweet smelling blooms on just one plant.
- If you have Honesty Lunaria in your garden, collect the seed pods now for winter flower arranging. They look like beautiful moons and last for ages.
- Lily of Peru, Alstromeria, are wonderful in pots as well as the garden and last ages in a vase if picked for your home and flower well into autumn outside – long-lasting plant for your pleasure.
- If you have an old watering can or wheelbarrow no longer in use, plant up with mature herbs for a lovely feature. You can cut and use them immediately and of course, they smell great.
- For hardy shrubs such as Camellias, Pyracantha or Hydrangeas, you should soon take cuttings. Put them into a gritty compost outside in a garden frame until they are rooted – this can take six months or more.
- Plant hardy Cyclamen for autumn flowers. They love the shade, as do the Autumn Crocus (Colchicum) which you will find as a bulb – we have these available now. These offer stunning, showy flowers in the autumn when the garden can be looking a little sad.
- Take cuttings of Salvia plants to overwinter as they do not always survive through the colder months.
- If you find some room in your veg patch, plant onion sets now. Use varieties that do well for harvesting in late May or early June. Some suggested varieties are Radar, Troy, Senshyu or Red Electric.
We always say at this time of year how important it is to take time to enjoy your garden, especially on warm, summer evenings.