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
The UK’s gardeners are making the most of the August weather to spend time outdoors, but they should also be looking to the seasons ahead and begin preparing their garden for the colder spell. There are plenty of jobs to keep you busy in the garden this month; it’s the perfect time of year to plant your winter vegetables and start cutting back and deadheading flowers to encourage continual healthy growth.
David Mitchell, buying manager for horticulture at Wyevale Garden Centres, shares his gardening jobs of the month, helping you to get one step closer to your dream back garden.
Want to get ahead of the gardening? Check out or jobs to do in the garden in September
1. Safeguard your tomato plants
Remove the lower level leaves from your tomato plant to help reduce its risk of disease and keep it thriving for longer. When a tomato plant’s growth is dense or when the leaves lie to close to the ground this can mean that the leaves are permanently in the shade. By removing the lower level leaves from the plant the remaining leaves have more space and access to sunlight so are more likely to stay drier and free from soil containing pathogens, thus they are more protected from disease.
2. Prune your perennial herbs
Whether you’re looking to flavour your meat or garnish your cocktails, herbs are the plant of the moment and a fantastic addition to gardens of all sizes. Oregano and thyme are perennial herbs which mean they grow back each year without needing to be replanted. To promote their growth each year, trim them in August before the winter months hit to ensure they withstand the frost.
3. Plan ahead for gardening leave
It is important not to leave your plants neglected while you are on holiday. A great way to make sure your plants are being watered without asking the neighbours to cover is to invest in a growbag waterer. Once set up, you can control the amount and frequency of water needed for your plants, leaving them perfectly hydrated without becoming waterlogged.
4. Lop back your lavender
As with many blooms, it’s important to cut back lavender after its flowering period to promote new growth. Make sure you do so lightly to help maintain the plant’s well-rounded shape. You should be pruning around one third of the plant using a sharp, clean set of pruning shears. Put cuttings in moist, well-drained potting compost (one part grit to one part compost) and place in a cold frame.
5. Deadhead petunias and potted dahlias
Deadheading ensures that plants maintain a healthy continual bloom and August is the ideal month to trim back potted petunias and dahlias. Plants such as dahlias have tough and stringy stems so opt for secateurs, scissors or knives when removing the flower heads.
6. Wind down for winter
Use thus month to plant your hardy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and Brussel sprouts, so they are ready to be harvested throughout the winter months. Make sure you plant in an open site with free-draining soil and cultivate before planting to ensure these vegetables have the best chance of growing.
7. 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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Buy now: Plant food and fertiliser, B&Q
8. 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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Buy now: Cutting and pruning tools, B&Q
9. 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.
10. 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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Buy now: Similar bird bath, Indian Rainbow Sandstone Large Bird Bath, Primrose
11. Make preserves
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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Buy now: Similar jam jars, Wares of Knutsford
If you enjoyed this, why not take a look at jobs to do in the garden in October?
12. 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.
For more information about water butts read: How to install a water butt and other ways to recycle water for your garden
13. Relax and enjoy your summer garden
Take your time to potter around the garden and even think about sitting down and just enjoying being in it.