Gardening Tips for August

Traditionally one of the hottest months of the year, August is the time to relax in the garden enjoying long summer days. Watering is key this month, particularly container-grown plants or those border plantings not yet established. Regular feeding and dead heading will help keep the garden looking its best until autumn.


Terrace Garden

  • Maintain a good display of summer colour by regularly watering container plants, daily in warm weather, adding a balanced liquid fertiliser every other week to encourage strong healthy growth and continual flowering through to the autumn. Remove spent flowers to encourage more to follow.
  • If you are heading away for a few days holiday consider moving containers into the shade to help reduce drying out, or for longer holiday breaks consider installing an automatic irrigation system to keep your display looking its best.
  • Any plantings that have suffered from lack of water in the heat of the summer can be replaced with fresh topical ranges for extended flower colour through late summer and early autumn. Consider vibrant Chrysanthemums and ‘bud bloomer’ Calluna for container plantings, or flowering Hydrangeas and Hardy Fuchsias for an eye-catching long lasting display. Visit your local Dobbies Garden Centre to see our extensive range of planting ideas perfect for added adding late summer colour.
  • Remember to refresh the compost, now exhausted from the summer season.
  • Our in-house planting service means we will be only too happy to plant your container for you, with your chosen selection, ready to go straight onto the terrace if you so wish.
  • Dead head spent Lilies to concentrate energy back into the bulb for next years display. Leave the stem to die back naturally before cutting down to the base.

Beds and Borders

  • If not done so already, prune spring and early summer flowering shrubs, such as Deutzia, Weigela and Philadelphus to keep them in check. Remove spent branches with secateurs or loppers to allow new growth to mature that will carry next year’s display. Extend the season of colour in borders with high summer shrubs such as Lavenders, Acers, hardy Fuchsias, Hydrangeas and Cotinus (Smoke Bush).
  • Deliveries of our new best-ever spring flowering bulb collections arrive in store and online at this month, full of inspirational colour mixes as well as tried and trusted traditional favourites. Be sure to buy early to get the widest choice. Pre-order Online for delivery direct from the grower in mid September ready for planting.
  • 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 particularly Camellias a good drink of water now to ensure they set plenty of buds for spring.
  • Water any new plantings not yet established. Better to give a thorough soak every few days rather than a little more often. This will encourage the roots to grow down into the soil rather than towards the surface. Add a thick layer of mulch to help retain moisture.
  • Weeds grow quickly in the warm temperatures. To keep them in check hoe them off before they get chance to establish, digging out any perennial weeds as you go. If you have large areas of persistent weeds, such as ground elder, now is a good time to apply a chemical weed-killer, fast acting in the warm temperatures.

Cottage Garden

  • Dead head regularly to extend the flowering season well into autumn, particularly dahlias, roses and cottage garden perennials such as Penstemon.
  • Any early flowering herbaceous plants that have already died back can be cut back and tidied, whilst some such as geranium 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 David Austin varieties 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. Shrub varieties renowned for their showy hips should be left to add colour to the autumn and winter garden.
  • 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 five leaves or 20cm in length. These will require a second pruning in early spring.
  • Plant new perennial plants now while the soil is still warm to enable them to develop a strong root system during the winter months in readiness for spring. Keep well watered until established. Visit your local Dobbies Garden Centre to choose from our extensive range of quality British grown cottage garden plants, perfect for adding to existing borders or for creating new ones.
  • Collect seed from early season hardy annuals such as Nigella (Love in the Mist) and Calendula (English Marigold) to be sown in the autumn for next year’s display.

Kitchen Garden

  • Cut back herbs, such as chives, mint and parsley that are looking tired. This will encourage fresh new growth for a continued supply.
  • 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 yet more to follow.
  • Continue to water squash and pumpkins as they ripen under the summer sun.
  • Late sowings of beetroot, radishes, spinach, lettuce and salad crops grow quickly in the warm soils for an extended season of fresh vegetables.
  • New seasons delivery of garlic and onions arrive in store this month, perfect for autumn planting. Visit your local Dobbies Garden Centre to see our range of specially selected varieties.

Lawn Care

  • Regular mowing is best for a healthy lawn, 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.


Plants at their best

English Rose
Evening Primrose
Globe Thistle
Day Lily
Russian Sage

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