It is the last of our summer months and you may be thinking about what jobs to do in the garden in August. Schools are out, holidays are close and you have lots on your plate but you need to do some basic garden maintenance too, to keep everything ticking along nicely.
Hopefully you will find time to relax and enjoy your outdoor space as well.
If you are going away on holiday then please check my holiday blog for tips on how to keep your garden in great shape whilst you are away.
Beds and Borders
Stake tall, top-heavy plants such as lilies, dahlia, echinops to give them support and prevent damage from wind or heavy rain.
Continue dead-heading perennials and annual bedding plants to encourage a longer flowering season.
Dead-head hemerocallis daily to keep them producing more flowers.
You can cut back perennials to keep the border tidy, alternatively leave some to die back naturally as this provides autumn shelter and habitat for wildlife.
Cut back faded penstemon flowers to just above a leaf node to encourage new flowers.
Take cuttings from tender perennial plants such as fuchsia for propagating new plants for next year.
Continue to split any clumps of Bearded Iris to propagate and keep the plants healthy. Splitting them prevents over crowding too.
Continue picking sweet peas to encourage more flowers. There is nothing nicer than a vase full of these pretty, fragrant blooms.
If you’re planning to sow a wildflower garden, prepare the area now. This allows for it to settle and you can clear any persistent weeds before sowing wildflower seed in autumn.
Protect your plants from slugs using environmentally -friendly slug nematodes.
Wisteria, cut back the long whippy side growth to about 20cm from the main branches.
Summer prune fruit trees
Prune climbing and rambling roses after flowers have finished, unless they are repeat flowering varieties.
Water rhododendron, azalea and camellias to ensure strong, healthy buds for next year.
Trim herbs now to keep shrubs looking tidy and in good shape. This regenerates new growth of fresh shoots, that can be harvested.
Cut back lavender shrubs after flowers are finished to keep the shrub compact.
It’s time now to give hedges a trim to keep them neat. In some climates this may be the last cut required. In warmer regions they will continue growing well into autumn so another trim may be needed later in the year.
Top up bird baths and ponds with rain water.
Scoop off floating, surface weeds from ponds. For further information on pond care click here.
Keep on top of weeding, on paths, driveways and patio area.
Also, clear weeds from beds and borders and the vegetable garden.
In the hot weather they are competing for the nutrients and water that your garden plants need. So get rid of them.
Tip…you can use boiling water or salt to kill weeds on paths.
Turn your compost each month to help it break down quicker and to aireate it.
Raise the cutting height on mowers to help reduce drought stress. As grass growth slows down through late summer, there is no need for a close cut.
Don’t be to concerned if it is looking brown and dry, lawns soon green up again, after it rains.
Trim lawn edges for a neat look.
Prepare new areas for lawns this month, this will give time for it to settle before laying the turf in Autumn.
If you find your lawn has lawn chafers or leather jackets treat with nematodes.
Wildflower gardens or wild grassed areas can be mown now to help distribute the seeds.
Use water from your water butts for all your plants, they much prefer rain water.
Install water butts if you haven’t any on the house, greenhouse and outbuildings down pipes where possible.
Water plants thoroughly when they need it. A good dousing is far more beneficial and keeps plants hydrated for longer, rather than a small amount everyday. Small amounts of water only serves to encourage weeds and surface roots.
Water container plants and hanging baskets twice daily and feed once a week with a general liquid fertiliser.
Vegetables and Fruit
Remove any large leaves from squash plants that are shading the developing fruit. The more sunshine they get the better they ripen.
Harvest courgettes when they are about 8 to 10 cm long, this helps to keep the plants productive.
Lift onions from the soil when leaves have died. If the weather is good leave them on the soil to dry for a couple of weeks or bring them indoors if there is rain. Store them in crates or baskets somewhere cool and dry. A garage, out building, shed is ideal, providing the onions have some airflow and are kept cool and dry they will last well in to the winter months.
Sow winter salad onions, spring cabbage, turnips and carrots.
Summer prune, espalier, fan and cordon trained pear and apple trees. Cut back this seasons shoots that are growing from side branches to one leaf. New shoots from a main branch should be reduced to three leaves.
Cut out fruited raspberry canes.
Pot up strawberry runners.
Veg seeds to sow now
- Salad onions
- Spring cabbage
- Winter lettuce
Order spring bulbs, now is the time to order your bulbs for planting from September through to November for a fabulous, colourful spring display.
Order perennial plants now.
Collect seeds from your favourite plants to sow for next year.
Prepare a wildflower bed/garden now ready to sow in autumn.
Seeds to sow now
If you’re wanting to continue sowing seeds for future blooming lovely displays then here is a selection that you can start to grow. Sarah Raven has a great range of seeds for you to sow now.
- Astrantia major
- Queen Anne’s Lace
- Sweet Cicely
- Salvia viradis
- Scabiosa atropurpurea
There is always something to do in our gardens, this is a guide of the main August gardening jobs that need our attention this month. Some are chores I know, but to maintain a healthy, productive garden they have to be done. Mostly though the jobs here are not a hardship, they are what make us grow as gardeners, turning our outdoor space into our own little Eden by doing the things we love. Nurturing, growing, producing and caring for our plants, trees and nature.
If you’re looking for things to do with the kids in the summer, while they are off school, get them in the garden. Let them help you on the allotment, give them some pots, soil and seeds and teach them to grow plants. They love it. Gardening is great fun for children and they learn about nature, flowers, plants and wildlife…keeps them occupied for hours.
Please add your comments or question in the comments box below. Share these timely tips and advice with your friends and family.