The Garden in August
Another month has passed by and we find ourselves in the midst of the school summer holidays, not that it has been feeling much like summer recently!! To me the month of August should be a sultry affair of overcast humid days and a time when families get to enjoy each others company outside whether it be games on the lawn or the family BBQ.
July as a month of mixed emotions for me as my eldest daughter turned 15 and just over a week later she left for India the same week that my youngest left primary school – all I can say is that many tears were shed by various family members. Thankfully the time that Grace was away passed quickly and unbelievably she is now back with an even bigger thirst of travelling!
As for the garden it has been very dry and the new borders near to the house have needed watering most days. The veg garden is in full swing and giving us daily harvests of courgettes, cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, cabbages, potatoes, various beans and raspberries. As gardens continually evolve August is a good time to have a really close look at your garden and to make notes of what is growing well, what isn’t, what do/don’t you like, do plants need to be moved, divided or simply got rid of, is there enough colour or height, is the seating area big enough and in the right place? These questions might seem a little tedious but it really doesn’t take long and by doing so you will get your ideal outdoor space and will really want to spend time in it.
We undertook this process last year and discovered that we didn’t have a seating area and the dogs seemed to be bringing dirt into the house permanently so we changed things – not only do we now have a lovely seating area but it is so much cleaner and a nicer place to be and enjoy a glass of something chilled on a summer’s evening.
The other thing I have decided that needs to be moved is the gorgeous orange crocosmia not because I don’t like it but it is just in the wrong place in this border.
Jobs for the Month
Regular dead heading is a must this month as it will prolong the flowering of your annuals, dahlias and roses.
Keep picking those Sweet Peas.
Continue with regular grass maintenance but beware if it suddenly becomes hot as if the grass is cut too short it will go brown and looked scorched.
Prune rambling roses once they have finished flowering.
If you are going away on holiday be sure to move pots into shaded areas and ask a neighbour or friend to pop by and keep things watered and to harvest any veg.
Lavender can be cut back now but be sure not to go into the old wood – if you want to cut them back hard check the base of the stems before cutting to see if there are any young shoots. The old flowers can be composted or alternately can be used to create many crafty smelling things.
Topiary and hedges can be cut back now although we carry out the majority of our hedge cutting in September as it keeps the hedges looking nicer for longer.
For a more detailed look at things that can be pruned during August why not read our A-Z.
Finish summer pruning wisteria by removing all the long side shoots by doing so it will encourage the plant to produce flower buds for next year.
Feed pots and hanging baskets.
Check Roses for black spot – tidy any leaves that have fallen and ensure that you collect any faded blooms that you deadhead but don’t put these on the compost heap instead pop them in the bin.
Plant autumn crocuses (Colchicum).
Sow winter pansies.
Jobs in the Veg Garden
Harvest any thing that is ready regular pickings will keep the veg in tip-top condition, if you don’t regularly harvest things such as runner beans the beans within the pods will begin to swell and the plant will stop producing new flowers, therefore, cutting your bean harvest short.
Check brassicas for cabbage white butterfly eggs, these are most commonly laid on the underside of leaves in clusters of yellow eggs the best way to deal with them is to squash them, all rather gruesome but better to do this now otherwise you’ll be picking off many caterpillars later on.
Once summer raspberries have finished fruiting the canes can be cut down to ground level – only cut the fruited canes the new shoots need to be tied in.
Shallots and Onions can be lifted and dried.
Keep checking plums and greengages and test for ripeness.
Feed your tomatoes and remember to keep pinching off the side shoots and tie in.