The garden in August is full of beautiful blooms and fresh greenery, here's how to make the most of summer flowers and get ahead for bountiful Autumn harvest
Continue to harvest food crops as they ripen, including damsons and plums, maincrop potatoes, salad onions and garlic, peas and sweetcorn. If you leave garden produce in the ground, it will encourage pests and disease, which will lead to problems in later months and years. If you store fruit or vegetables, make sure that each piece is completely dry and sits sufficiently apart from the next so they do not rot.
Nurture container plants
You should still be liquid-feeding any container plants, and watering, particularly if you are going on holiday, but once they finish flowering and begin to enter their dormant autumn-winter state, stop. You could also give your lawn, if it is a mono-culture, a liquid feed; if you like to let it grow long and more organically, so that wild flowers develop, then a light cut is all you need to do.
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Harvest and care for fruit trees
Cherries, plums, peaches, nectarines and apricots should all be ripe now and ready to harvest. Prune any fruit trees that are trained, and prop up any branches that have borne a heavy crop of fruit so that they can regain their strength. You should also cut raspberry canes that have fruited back to the ground, and prune blackcurrants back by one third.
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Pay attention to hedging
Hedges can be given a final trim now before they stop growing. By the end of this month, garden birds should have left their breeding nests so you can start to prune your yew hedging and clip any topiary. Also, once they have flowered, you can prune late summer-flowering shrubs and wisteria.
Keep bird baths topped up
Bird Baths will quickly evaporate or become full of algae growth which can stagnate the water. Remember to clean them out regularly and top them up with fresh, cold water to help our birds during the midday heat.
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If you did not trim your lavender before it flowered (you will have done this to dry it or make essential oils), then trim and take cuttings now that it has flowered. Put cuttings in moist, well-drained potting compost (one part grit to one part compost) and place in a cold frame.
Gooseberries, onions, tomatoes, plums, damsons and greengages: these are just some of the crops that not only taste wonderful when eaten fresh but which can be used to make glorious pickles, jams and jellies that can be enjoyed throughout the coming months.
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If you enjoyed this, why not take a look at jobs to do in the garden in October?
Collect valuable rain water
Water plants thoroughly when needed instead of every day. Thorough watering supports plants for up 14 days, while merely wetting the surface wastes water, encourages weeds and can lead to surface rooting making the plants more vulnerable. Make the most of summer showers and keep your plants looking lush by installing a water butt in your garden.
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For more information about water butts read: How to install a water butt and other ways to recycle water for your garden
Relax and enjoy your summer garden
Deadhead any flowers, to prolong the flowering period into the autumn months, and take your time to potter around the garden and even think about sitting down and just enjoying being in it.