August means holidays and lazy days soaking up the sunshine. Now’s the time to relax in the garden and enjoy the results of all your hard work. And to keep your garden looking great all summer, read our top gardening tips for August.
Garden tips for August
- Deadhead dahlias, daylilies and petunias to keep the flowers coming. But if you’re growing roses that produce brightly coloured hips for winter, stop deadheading now to let the hips develop.
- Keep camellias and rhododendrons well watered, especially in dry weather, as now is when they establish the buds for next year’s flowers.
- Trim lavender once the flowers have faded, taking care not to cut back into old wood.
- Prune rambling roses, removing one in every three flowering stems, and tie the remaining stalks into supports.
- If you haven’t pruned your wisteria yet, do it this month, cutting back all long whippy shoots to five or six leaves.
- Water pots and hanging baskets regularly, and give container-grown flowering plants a weekly feed with tomato feed to promote flowers.
- Hardy annuals like nigella and poppies will be setting seed now, so collect the seed and store it in paper bags for sowing next year. But leave a few seedheads for the birds – teasels are especially popular.
- Top up birdbaths and ponds in hot weather.
- Plant autumn-flowering bulbs like nerines and colchicums, and start thinking about which spring bulbs to plant for next year’s display.
- If you’re going away, remember to arrange for someone to water your plants. If you’re just away for a few days, help potted plants to survive by watering them well and moving them into the shade.
- Once summer-fruiting raspberries have finished, cut back all the fruited canes to ground level. Prune espaliered trees, cutting back woody side shoots to just above the third node from the base of the shoot.
- It’s time to reap the benefits of all your hard work in the vegetable garden. Cucumbers, courgettes, runner and French beans, beetroots, onions, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes should all be ready to harvest now, as will plums, peaches and the first of the apples.
- There’s still time to sow salads that will keep you fed through autumn and even into early winter. Rocket, spring onions, mizuna and lambs lettuce are all good salad crops to sow in August.
- Leave food and water out for hedgehogs to help them fatten up before hibernating. Use meat-based cat or dog food (chicken flavour is best), and definitely no bread or milk, as it’s terrible for them.
- In dry weather, raise the blades on your lawnmower. If you’re planning to sow or lay new lawn in autumn, start preparing the area now to give the soil a chance to settle.