August is the time to relax in the garden enjoying long summer days. Watering is key this month, particularly container-grown plants and border plantings not yet established. Regular feeding and dead heading keeps the garden looking its best until autumn.
Regularly water container plants, daily in very warm weather, adding a liquid fertiliser, like tomato feed every other week to encourage strong, healthy, growth and continual flowering through to the autumn. Remove spent flowers to encourage more to grow.
If you’re going away, move containers into the shade to help reduce drying out, or for longer holiday breaks consider installing an automatic irrigation system.
If you need to replace any plants that have suffered from lack of water visit your local Dobbies Garden Centre for fresh ideas perfect for adding late summer colour.
Beds & Borders
Prune spring and early summer flowering shrubs, such as Deutzia, Weigela and Philadelphus. Remove spent branches with secateurs or loppers to allow new growth to mature that will carry next year’s display.
Spring flowering bulb collections are available in store and online, full of inspirational colour mixes as well as tried and trusted traditional favourites. As gaps appear in beds and borders, early autumn is the ideal time to plant bulbs, including Alliums, Crocus, Daffodils, Narcissi and Snowdrops.
Give Azaleas, Rhododendrons and Camellias a good drink of water and ericaceous feed now to ensure they set plenty of buds for spring.
Water new plantings, giving a thorough soak every few days. This encourages roots to grow down into the soil rather than towards the surface. Add a thick layer of mulch to help retain moisture.
Dead head regularly to extend the flowering season well into autumn, particularly Dahlias, Roses and cottage garden perennials.
Any flowering herbaceous plants that have already finished flowering can be cut back and tidied, whilst some such as Geraniums will grow back with a second flush of foliage and flower for a late season display.
Many Roses will put on another display of fresh blooms, particularly some of our Dobbies varieties which are renowned for their fragrance and long season of flower colour. Dead head spent blooms and boost with rose fertiliser to encourage healthy growth and a late summer display.
Tie in whippy growths on rambling roses to bear next year’s trusses of flower, positioning each stem as near to horizontal as possible. Training new growth in this way helps to encourage a prolific flower display along their length.
Prune Wisteria cutting whippy side shoots back to around 5 leaves to 20cm in length. These may require a second pruning later in the autumn or spring.
Cut back herbs, such as Chives, Mint and Parsley, that are looking tired. This will encourage fresh new growth for a continued supply of leaves for summer dining.
Cut back spent summer fruiting raspberry canes to the ground, tying in the new whips for next year’s crop as you go.
Continue to water Tomato plants consistently and regularly, adding a high potash tomato feed for healthy growth and fruiting.
Keep picking Courgettes when they are young and tender to encourage more to follow.
Continue to water squash and pumpkins well as they ripen under the summer sun.
Make sowings of beetroot, radishes, spinach, lettuce and salad crops, all fast growing for an extended season of fresh vegetables.
If you require a formal lawn then regular mowing is required, reducing the cutting height in hot weather to help prevent drying out. Keeping the blades slightly higher helps the grass resist the extra summer wear.
In warm weather the lawn can dry out and turn brown; it will recover once rain returns.