August in your garden

We hope for some rain this month after record breaking temperatures in July. The trees and shrubs are dropping leaves to try and preserve moisture. Hopefully we will have a bit of wet help from above.

Plant watering

Slugs, snails and mildew are discouraged by the soil drying during the day. So, water in the morning helps provide enough moisture to cope with the day’s heat. Save rainfall in water butts and use that to water the garden. There may well not be enough rain for that to work satisfactorily. If you need to ration water from the butts, give priority to Camelias, Pieris and the Rododendrons. These plants do not like the lime in tap water. Camelias, in particular, are very fussy and require being well watered in August and September. The result of your hard work will be excellent blooms next Spring.

Attach a simple irrigation system to your water tap to water flower beds, containers and hanging baskets. The tap attachment has an automatic timer and in some can be controlled by a smart phone.

Scented plants

If you like fragrance in your garden, you cannot fail with Myrtus communis. This small compact evergreen shrub produces small white flowers. It has fluffy stamens whose scent is very sweet. A herbaceous perennial, one of my personal favourites, is Physostegia virginiana “Summer Snow”. Its very descriptive cultivar name gives it all away. It produces masses of dense pure white flower spikes up to 75cm high (2’to 3’) and it too prefers full sun.

Coreopsis is a real garden favourite and provides exceptional summer colour. Coreopsis grandiflora “Flying Saucers” does very well in a mixed border. Keep dead-heading and it will flower until October. Their beautiful yellow saucer-shaped flowers with tall slender stalks are great as cut flowers for the house.

While we are looking at great colours, Crocosmia “Lucifer”. This reliable perennial has sword-like foliage and will grow in full sun or partial shade. The long wiry flowering stems bear brilliant flame-red flowers and also are ideal as cut flowers.

For drama in your borders, try Gaillardia “Dazzler”: its flowers are large and daisy-like, orange/fiery red with yellow rings! Gaillardias like hot dry sites to thrive properly, so are perfect for that hot dry border you have been trying to fill.

So, enjoy the rest of the summer – autumn is only just around the corner!

Colour for August

Add a splash of colour with bold yellow Coreopsis, mixed in with pinky/purple Echinacea Purpurea and orange Geum Totally Tangerine. There are other favourites such as Crocosmia and the Canna’s are just coming through too.

Pruning

The Wisteria has finished its second flowering so this is a good time to prune. If you are careful, you can utilise the pruning to guide the Wisteria in the direction you would like it to grow. Conversely you can cut out the tendrils that have started to head towards the roof space, chimney or gutters.

Jobs for August

  • Continue dead-heading throughout your garden to prolong flowering
  • Lavender needs light pruning whilst lupins and delphiniums should be cut back
  • Give borders a boost with some general fertiliser and feed roses with rose food.
  • Pests like lily beetle and aphids need to be removed by hand or sprayed.
  • Feed tomatoes so they carry on producing good fruit
  • Cut back hardy herbaceous Geraniums to encourage a late summer/early autumn flowering
  • Take cuttings of any “tender” plants in late August as insurance in case of a hard winter, for instance Dahlias, Osteospermums, and some hardy Fuchsias, especially the larger flowering varieties.
  • Greenhouses can get too hot in the sun and may need shading material or shading paint to lower the temperature inside.

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