AugustYou are possibly thinking of time away from the garden enjoying your holidays so there are actions you can take to ensure that on your return you are not faced with an out of control jungle or fired earth.
•Continue with the watering and weeding.
•Dead-heading and general tidying of perennials which have got a bit overenthusiastic will help the borders drift beautifully into late summer and autumn. Cut back any floppy or unruly plants of prop them up with some bamboo canes and a bit of string. Not only will the border look better for it but where you have trimmed may well give you a second flush of colour later on.
•Prune rambling Roses once they have finished flowering. See our separate Rose pruning guide for more details.
•Give Lavenders a cut back now, prune back all of the flowering stems and an inch/2.5cms of the foliage. This will encourage some flushing up of foliage from the bottom and lengths of the stems, helping to prevent it becoming woody and set it up nicely to look good over winter.
•Check under Roses and other plants for diseased leaves, if they are infected with Mildew, black spot or rust they will fall early. The infection will persist in these leaves spreading back up onto the plant through rain splash-back.
•Spring flowering bulbs will be in stock now and you can begin planting for next year’s display.
•Watering and weeding continues through the growing season, paying special attention to newly planted trees and shrubs. Keeping the base of these clear of weeds or grass reduces the competition for water and nutrients giving the plant the best chance to establish quickly.
•Finish up any summer pruning jobs like hedge trimming by the end of this month so plants have a chance to harden off any new growth before the frosts of winter arrive.
•Finish any pruning of Wisteria by the end of August, see the July entry for more information on this.
•Keep Camellias, Rhododendron, and Azaleas well-watered while they develop the flower buds for next spring.
•Box, Ceanothus and lavender can all be propagated by semi-ripe cuttings, the woody Salvias like ‘Hot lips’ too, simply take a stem which has been produced this year and has no flower. Trim at the base under a leaf node so you have 10- 15 cm lengths. Strip off any lower leaves (particularly relevant to Lavender) put the cuttings into pot of multipurpose compost placing them around the edges. Pop those on to a window sill where you can keep an eye on watering or you can leave them outside to establish roots. Once you see new growth and see roots at the bottom of the pot they can be potted, on usually this would be the following spring.
•Keep crops well- watered, they have a tendency to bolt if too dry.
•Onion and Garlic crops will be ready to harvest.
•Regularly check Tomato crops in the green house, pick off any diseased leaves which look like they may have been affected by mildew, prompt action will help keep it at bay. If you do see this increase ventilation if possible, and ensure you are picking off side shoots and a few of the leaves, to ease congestion.
•Harvest Sweetcorn once the ‘silks’ start to go brown and eat as soon as possible to really enjoy the sweetness.
•Look out for brown rot on Apples, this infection occurs on damaged fruits and establishes fast causing browning of the apple skin, pick off any offending fruit as soon as you see it.
•Prune summer fruiting Raspberries, cut out this years fruited stems to the ground, leave the new growth made this year which will provide next year’s fruit.
•Keep your plants well-watered, if the compost has dried out too much put the pot into a bucket or trug to soak for a couple of hours.
•Feed with high potash liquid feeds to encourage flowering
•Remove any fading flowers to encourage the plant to keep making new ones.
•If you wish to lay or sow a new lawn this autumn you can begin to prepare the area this month, by doing this you will be able to deal with at least one generation of weeds coming through before you sow or lay the turf later on.
•Keep on top of mowing it does help to keep the lawn healthy and stops the grass setting seed in the flower beds.
Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use.
Click on one of the other months below to see what you can look forward to