August Jobs in the Garden

After searing heat, heavy rain and some very windy days in July, it’s hard to know quite what to expect in August!

1. Top of the list is still dead-heading. Removing the stem as well as the actual dead flower always gives a better appearance. Be careful if doing dahlias, as it can be hard to tell which is a bud and which a spent flower. The buds are rounded – the spent flowers are cone shaped and pointed. Dead head penstemons by cutting the flowered stem back to a healthy set of leaves, this will trigger the tiny buds at the base of those leaves to flower.

Wisteria. Summer-prune all the long, whippy side-shoots back to about 5 buds, this also restricts/contains the size of the plant. Prune again in late winter, when these laterals are cut back to 2 buds.

3. Summer-prune espaliers, cordons and other wall-trained fruit trees to maintain their size and shape and allow more light to reach the plant.

4. Water containers and new plants using grey or stored water when possible.

5. Camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons are forming their flower buds for next year, keep them well watered and don’t allow them to dry out.

6. Keep ponds topped up.

7. Prune rambling roses, remove up to a third of flowered stems, tie in the rest to supports.

8. Many lavenders are nearly over, cut back flowered stems to give a neat, compact shape and to allow time for new foliage to develop before the winter.

9. Birds may still be nesting, particularly in native hedges, so avoid hedge-cutting until end of August or even better, into September.

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