Well, August already, where does the time go. For some, August can be a bit depressing as autumn is on the way and all those darker evenings aren’t far behind. Combine harvesters come out, herbaceous perennials are starting to die back and leaves are starting to loose their lovely verdant green colour. But don’t despair, with all this summer rain and warm temperatures, our gardens are still bursting with colour and interest. Michelmas daisies are looking their absolute best and echinaceas, dahlias, rudbeckia, heleniums and chrysanths are looking glorious. August, and indeed September, are great months for hot colours in the garden; reds, yellows and oranges really extend the season and remind you that Summer isn’t over yet!
Here are a few jobs to think about.
- August is a good month to summer prune wisterias. We normally trim back the wispy spurs by about a third or to about 5 or 6 buds from the main stem. To help flowering next year feed with tomato feed to give it a boast. The main pruning time for wisterias is the middle of winter (Jan / Feb) when you trim the spurs back to 2 or 3 buds from the main stem.
- Continue to deadhead roses and other perennials to prolong flowering.
- If you want to save seed from your perennials for growing on next year, now is a good time to do so. Cut heads of hardy geraniums, aquilegias and poppys for drying out. Collect the seed in paper bags or envelopes and keep somewhere cool and dry.
- Identify and mark gaps in your borders now for planting of autumn bulbs before the perennials die down.
- Once this year’s raspberry canes have finished fruiting cut canes down to the ground and tie in the new canes. Pin strawberry runners into pots of compost to create new plants.
- Put stakes around autumn flowering perennials such as dahlias, chrysanthemums and michaelmas daisys to keep them supported.
- As soon as lavender has finished flowering take the shears to it and reduce it back to about ½ inch into the new growth but no lower. Keep the seed heads for their fragrance and use indoors.
- Continue to feed and water tubs and baskets.
- Make sure houseplants aren’t left on windowsills in the summer sunshine as they can scorch in direct sunlight.
- Trim back leggy annuals to give them a new lease of life such as petunias, nicotianas and nemesia.