August in your garden

August can be the warmest month and often brings heavy showers of rain too to test your gardening skills.

Plant watering

I suggest that one way to help control slugs and mildew is by watering in the morning. This helps provide enough moisture to cope with the day’s heat but prevents cool damp conditions at night.

Save rainfall in water butts to water the camelias, pieris and the rhododendrons. These plants do not like the lime in tap water. Camelias in particular are very fussy about being well watered in August and September. The result of your hard work will be excellent blooms next Spring.

You can rig up a simple irrigation system for the flower beds, containers and hanging baskets. All you need is an programmable timer attached to the tap connected to mini sprinklers.

RHS Shows

Chelsea flower show has now been moved to September. This will provide us all with joy and inspiration plots and spectacular show gardens.

Scented plants

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

Colour in the garden

Coreopsis is a real garden favourite and provides exceptional summer colour. Coreopsis grandiflora “Flying Saucers” does very well in a mixed border and flowers from June to October if you keep dead-heading them. Their beautiful yellow saucer-shaped flowers are borne on tall slender stalks which are 35cm to 40cm high (1’6”) . There is also Crocosmia “Lucifer”. This reliable perennial has sword-like foliage with long wiry flowering stems which bear brilliant flame-red flowers. You can use both the yellow Coreopsis and Crocosmia as cut flowers. You could also try Gaillardia “Dazzler” for its large and daisy-like, orange/fiery red with yellow rings flowers. Plant Gaillardias in a hot dry spot, so they are perfect for that hot dry border you have been trying to fill.

Enjoy the rest of the summer – autumn is only just around the corner!

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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