Home LifestyleGardening Your gardening guide for August

Your gardening guide for August

by Gemma Melling

Our gardens are now in full summer mode – and if you are growing your own, you will be enjoying the best of your harvest.

After such a wet July, it would be lovely to get some sunny days in which to lie back and enjoy our gardens this month! But there will still be lots to keep us busy, too.

Here are our gardening tips for August:

Keep deadheading flowers to prolong the display

Cosmos flowers, one in great condition, one ready for deadheading

Once flowers, like this cosmos, are past their best, deadhead to encourage the plant to produce more.

When a flower is past its best, simply snip it off (cutting as far back down the stem as you can, until you meet another stem, a leaf or bud). It’s important to get rid of the dead flowerheads as it encourages the plant to produce many more flowers, and for longer, so just a quick trim every few days will bring the best out of your plants. This works really well for dahlias, roses, cosmos, geraniums, lupins and more.

A useful tip for dahlias – it can be difficult to tell the new buds from the spent flowers. Those which are still to flower are a nice round shape – whilst those which are done are slightly pointed – like in the pictures below.

Dahlia in bud
This dahlia is still to flower, so don't snip it off!
Spent flowerhead on a dahlia
This dahlia with a pointed end has finished flowering, so you can cut this one off.

Water and feed

Hanging basket of petunias being watered with a watering can

Keep watering pots and hanging baskets – and feeding regularly with tomato feed (weekly or fortnightly). Sometimes when we get lots of rain it’s easy to forget that pots and baskets might still need watering. If we are lucky enough to get dry, sunny weather, make sure you top up bird paths and ponds regularly, too.

Keep on top of the weeding

weeding the garden

At this time of year, the weeds are growing prolifically, as well as the flowers! There’s always another one popping up just when you think the job is done. It can be a bit frustrating but nothing beats the satisfaction of a freshly weeded bed – even if it is short lived!

Get ahead for next year’s strawberries

13 new strawberry plants in small pots

These plants were created by pegging strawberry runners into a small pot with soil and letting it grow roots

If you pegged down some of your strawberry runners, as we suggested last month, you can now seperate them from their parent plant as hopefully they’ve started to take root as new plants by now. This year, I’ve managed to make 13 new strawberry plants for next year using this method – and it’s so easy. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s not too late. Strawberry plants will survive if kept outside all year round, but you may find that once they’re about three years old, the don’t produce as many fruits. If you keep using their runners to create new plants, you’ll never run out. Clever!

Start your post-flowering pruning

red rambling roses climbing on a house

Prune back climbing and rambling roses once they finish flowering and trim lavender plants to help them keep their shape. It helps to know what type of lavender you have before cutting or trimming it. English lavender can be cut back by two thirds in the second half of this month, and you can even cut into the bare wood. It will soon begin to regrow and the new shoots will have time now to develop and harden up before winter. But if yours is French or Spanish lavender, never cut back hard and never into the bare wood. Just a gentle trim to help it keep its shape is all that’s needed this month.

Sow some seeds for next year

Wallflower seedlings in a seed tray

There are some flowers you can sow from seed now for flowers in spring / early summer next year – such as cornflowers, calendulas, forget-me-nots, California poppies. You can also sow more seeds for growing your own and eating this year – including lettuce, rocket, spring onions, radish and more.

Loads to do if you’re growing your own

Freshly picked carrots, spring onions, beetroot and beans from the vegetable patch

If you are growing your own there’s lots of harvesting to do – carrots, runner beans, cucumbers, courgettes, beetroot, potatoes & more. I’m certainly hoping my tomatoes (of which I seem to have hundreds of green ones) ripen up very soon. Keep an eye out for pests on your plants – if necessary cover plants with netting or fleece. If you’re growing sweetcorn, like I am, keep watering and feeding them with tomato feed – the same goes for pepper, cucumber and aubergine plants once they start to form fruits. If you are growing tomatoes, keep an eye out for tomato blight – removing and destroying any affected plants immediately to stop it spreading. The signs to look out for are small brown marks on the leaves, which enlarge as the blight takes hold. Eventually brown spots will appear on the stems and branches – they’ll then turn to a much darker brown/black.

Look after your lawn

A green grass lawn

At this time of year, if your lawn is looking a bit brown and sizzled, ty not to worry because the autumn is bound to bring plenty of rain which will soon green it up again. Turf is actually a lot hardier than you might think. Resist the temptation to feed it now because it will generate new growth which will be easily damaged by autumn conditions. You can think about raising the cutting height of your lawn mower now as the growth will begin to slow.

Trim hedges

Man trimming a hedge

August is a good time to give hedges a final trim and shape for the year. Pick a nice cool day for this hot job! If you don’t fancy doing it yourself, why not see if any of the gardening companies in our Local Directory will do it for you?

Keep vigilant for the dreaded Lily Beetle

Lily beetle larvae on the underside of Lily leaves

The little black blobs you can see underneath the leaves are the larvae of the very unwanted Lily Beetle

Your lilies may have well finished flowering by now but as the foliage dies back you still need to keep an eye out for the naughty Lily Beetle on them… especially their sticky brown larvae underneath the leaves. I have to confess I took my eye off the plants after they finished flowering – then to my horror discovered one of them had become an absolute haven for these little blighters! I wipe it off the larvae with kitchen roll, crush it and bin it.

In need of some help in your garden?

Check out the gardening companies we have in our Local Directory for Newton-le-Willows if you need help in the garden – from mowing the lawn to total landscaping projects.

About the author:

My name is Gemma. I’m the editor of Newton-le-Willows News and a very keen but amateur gardener. I enjoy growing flowers and edibles in my garden in Golborne. You can follow my garden on Instagram @gandtgarden.

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