Things to do in your garden throughout August.
This is often the hottest, driest month of the year, so watering is a must. You may need to ask a neighbour or friend to help you if you're off on your holidays. Plants such as dahlias, asters and phlox really come into their own this month.
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Here are some of the main jobs to take care of this month in your garden:
Deadhead flowers regularly –
As soon as glowers start to look untidy, remove the blooms. This will keep them looking their best and will encourage them to continue to produce flowers, instead of setting seed.
Collect seed heads for display –
Seeds heads such as alliums and love-in-a-mist look gorgeous dried and displayed in your home. Spray them, or incorporate them into a wreath at Christmas time.
Save seed for sowing –
Collect seeds from plants as they finish flowering such as poppies, aquilegia and nigella. Gather them in still, sunny weather, and store them in a dry, container out of direct light, or sow straight away.
Make sure you keep pots and newly-potted plants well watered. Use “grey water” where possible and be conscious of how much tap water you’re using. Water in the morning, or evening when temperatures are lower and the sun is less intense.
Keep on top of the weeds before they become established. Do not allow annual weeds to set seed, as this will stop them from taking over.
Keep water features and ponds topped up –
Monitor the water levels of your pond to prevent precious wildlife such as insects and fish from dying. Water features such as fountains and bird baths are a vital source of hydration for many wildlife species, so don’t let these dry out.
Keep the garden tidy –
As perennials plants start to go-over, cut them back. Keep the grass mown, but leave it slightly longer in very hot weather. Remove spent annuals as they fade, unless you want them to self-sow their seed.
Stake & tie-in plants –
Keep tying in plants as they require it. Large sunflowers and dahlias such as the dinner-plate varieties will need additional support to prevent them from flopping over or snapping off.
Greenhouse maintenance –
Open windows/vents to reduce temperatures and keep the airflow adequate inside glass structures. Regularly water the floor of the greenhouse to raise the humidity and keep it cool – this is known as “damping down”. Set up capillary matting and stand pots on drip trays during particularly hot, dry weather (especially if you’re going away!).
Trim lavender –
To keep lavender compact and busy trim lightly after flowering. Do not cut back into the old wood.
Cut back areas of wildflowers and meadows –
The plants in meadows will have scattered their seed by now, so it’s time to mow or strim them.
Wildlife care –
Keep bird baths and ponds topped up during hot weather. Remove algae and blanket weed from pools and water features to keep them healthy.
Continue to feed perennials such as dahlias –
Give them a balanced, liquid feed once every one-two weeks to keep them healthy and encourage vigorous growth with lots of flower heads.
Check for pests and diseases –
Be on the lookout for developing pests in the garden and greenhouse. Treat them immediately. Check regularly for snails and slugs on damp evenings to prevent them going to town on brassicas, lettuces and dahlias.
Sow green manure –
To stop weeds developing on areas of bare ground, sow green manure such as clover or mustard greens. When the area is needed for growing or cropping, you can dig it in to add nutrients to the earth.
Turn compost over –
To help to speed up the process of composting, turn it over. This will help with decomposition.
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