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August in the Garden

This month brings the close of summer and taking with it my favourite sound of summer as the Swifts take to the skies once more for their winter migration.  Traditionally this is the month where gardeners can take some time off but if you are going away be sure that the garden is cared for by a friend or relative should the hot weather continue in your absence.  August is a great month to take a closer look at the garden and to decide what you like/dislike, which plants work well and which don’t, have you any gaps or plants that are struggling or becoming out of control, such decisions can be a little overwhelming but walking around the garden with a notebook is a great way to jot down your thoughts and it help’s to plan your ideal garden space.  Make notes of which plants need dividing, moving or just aren’t working and this will help you to make your ideal space – gardens are always evolving.

Check roses for signs of blackspot – Affected leaves tend to turn yellow and develop black spots.  Remove affected leaves from the plant and tidy fallen rose leaves and place in the bin rather than the compost.

Deadheading could almost become a daily task as blooms on annuals, roses and perennials all begin to fade.

Remove Lily flowers as the petals begin to fall – using secateurs cut the stem just below the flowerhead and preferably above a leaf.

Begin thinking about planting spring flowering bulbs.

Continue weeding.

Tidy up lavender’s – trim off the flower stems to make a neat and compact bush but be careful not to cut into old wood.  I take the lavender flowers into the house but you could dry them and use them for all sorts of crafty things!

If you didn’t do so last month complete the summer pruning of Wisteria removing all the long straggly side shoots as this encourages the plant to produce the flower buds for next year.

Sweet peas are quick to go to seed at this time of year so pick blooms regularly to prevent this – if seed pods have formed cut them off.

Plant crocus and snakes head fritillaries and towards the end of the month the planting of daffodils can begin.

Trim back border perennials particularly those that have flopped over or have finished flowering.

Keep up with mowing but don’t mow during really hot spells as the grass could get scorched!

Cuttings from fuchsias and penstemons can be taken now.

Shrubs that flowered during June and July such as Weigela can be pruned now or when they have finished flowering.

Feed pots and hanging baskets.

Trim hedges and topiary – best not to do this on a sunny day.

Divide established clumps of aubrietia.

By the end of the month garden centres will have hyacinth bulbs which can be forced in time for Christmas flowering.

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