August - Gardening Jobs
Continue to dead head flowers regularly to promote new blooms.
Gardens will be full of seed heads. Sprinkle in border directly or collect in a labelled paper envelop to sow at a later date. Listen out for the rattle when you shake it to ensure the seed is viable - if no sound, too early to pick.
Remove all unwanted plant seed heads or remove flower heads before they set seed.
Feed feed feed. Plants are working hard to produce more blooms so give them all the help they need. Seaweed provides an organic nutritious boost and contains many useful trace elements which synthetic fertilisers lack.
Feed flowering plants with high potash fertiliser to prolong flowering period.
Give acid loving plants, (azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, blueberries) a boost with ericaceous feed.
Plants to prune / trim back AFTER they have finished flowering: Wisteria, wildflower meadows, rambling roses, Ilex (holly) but ideally allow to flower & seed as valuable food source for birds throughout winter, Laurus (Laurel), Lavendula (lavender), Philadelphus (mock orange), Pyracantha (firethorn) second prune to expose berries, Thymus (thyme), tip prune Callistemon (bottlebrush). Many shrubs need little regular pruning but neglected or old shrubs can be renovated by pruning out one in three old stems.
Keep on top of weeds and remove before they set seed.
Plant sweet williams, foxgloves, sweet rocket, wallflowers, honesty.
Look out for earwigs on dahlias. Encourage them away from your flowers by placing a plant pot stuffed with newspaper upside down on a stick, they should opt for this as refuge and save the dahlias!
Perfect time to take pelargonium, sage and rosemary cuttings.
Stake rudbeckias, echinaceas and any other tall perennials. Keep the garden smart by supporting plants.
Cut perennial geraniums such as ‘Johnson's Blue’ down to the ground. This will encourage a second bloom.
Pull (do not cut) alstromerias. This promotes new buds from the base. You should get a second flush.
Keep sowing salad and herbs for a consistent supply.
Transplant strawberry runners to a pot / new garden location.
Look out for potato / tomato blight and blossom rot.
Harvest crops. From fruit to veg to cut and come again; the kitchen garden goes bananas this time of year!
Keep an eye on your apple trees. Early varieties such as ‘Beauty of Bath’ may be ready.
Ensure you have some help to water / feed plants whilst you are away. Ask a friendly neighbour and share watering duties!
Be water wise in these drier months. Collect rainwater to water garden and containers.
Water consistently so plants do not get stressed and bolt. Try to avoid tap water as it contains chlorine.
Keep greenhouses well ventilated. Remember to water plants regularly. On hot days dampen down greenhouse to increase humidity and reduce red spider mites.
Keep a look out for vine weevil, lily beetle, sawfly, slugs and aphids.
Stop slugs and snails eating plant foliage. Pick off by hand, use beer traps, copper rings, shingle/egg shells or water in naturally occurring microscopic organisms called Nematodes; ‘Nemaslug’. If using slug pellets use organic ferric phosphate (child & pet friendly) I personally use Nematodes and Sluggo Slug & Snail Killer by Neudorff; which are certified for organic gardening, can be used on edible crops and are also resistant to rain. Avoid metaldehyde-based products.
Gardens are delicately balanced ecosystems so try not to totally eradicate pests as they will be a food source for other creatures i.e. birds/frogs love slugs & snails! Everything co-existing, with no dominant species, will equal a healthy garden.
All photos taken by Debi Holland ©