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Each month, receive tips on the top jobs needed in your garden as well as a wealth of information on a range of gardening topics. From sowing seeds to picking fruit, each month get access to information on the care and maintenance of your flowerbeds, vegetable plot and lawn. As with your own gardening diary, the journal is split into separate sections, each covering a different area of garden care.

Friday, 2 August 2013

This Month in your Garden – August

‘If the twenty-fourth of August be fair and clear, then hope for a prosperous autumn that year.’

It’s seedling recognition time. If you have grown cottage garden plants you’ll get to know the seedlings as they appear, aquilegias, foxgloves, red valerian (Centranthus), pot marigolds (Calendula), opium poppies and many others self seed around the garden and are worth leaving where they are or moving for next year’s display.

You can also collect ripe seeds from flowering plants and take cuttings of tender perennials such as fuchsias, verbenas and salvias, and silver-leaved plants.

Hardy plants and bedding plants can be ‘struck’ in sandy soil, using hormone rooting powder if you wish. Take rose cuttings such as Bourbon China. Now don’t let it all be work, enjoy the garden you’ve created or developed even though there is plenty to be done.

How to prune – August

Summer prune rambler roses, such as Albertine, that have grown for a few years. Start pruning in the third year, pruning sideshoots that have flowered back to within a couple of inches of the stem. Tie in new shoots.

The Lawn Care Guide – August

Following the lawn tips for July is probably all you need to do now if the growth of the lawn has slowed. But if you have planned a new lawn and haven’t started you need to do so now because the preparation needs to be done a month before you sow or turf.

Making a lawn from seed is less expensive than turf and you can store the seed in readiness for the right sowing conditions. Order in plenty of coarse grit, you’ll need about a barrow-load per square metre. It will improve drainage. Dig the area one spade deep or use a rotovator or rotovating attachment on your brush cutter and remove all the perennial weeds and all their roots.

If you have a heavy infestation you may need to spray with a glyphosphate herbicide before you prepare the area. But don’t use a residual weed killer as it will prevent the grass from germinating. Once clear of weeds you can dig in the coarse grit and as much well-rotted manure as you can. Now leave it all alone for a few weeks to settle. Four to five weeks is a good period.

The Vegetable Plot – August

It’s time to clear out spent cucumbers, especially if you have some growing in frames, You can sow winter spinach in a sheltered place. Prune summer-fruiting raspberries, cutting the canes that have fruited down to ground level. Train young canes in their place.

Earth up maincrop celery and lift spring-sown onions. You can sow onion seeds now in a fairly sheltered space. Logan berries and tayberries can be tip-layered, that is, bury the tip of a shoot about 15cm under the soil, earth up around it and you should have it rooting by spring.

The Big Glut Recipe – August

Cool summer Gazpacho

No cooking, lots of fresh vegetables, a bit of preparation time and this Gazpacho soup serves four on a sultry summer’s day.


  • 3 slices brown bread, cut into 2.5cm/1in cubes
  • 300ml/10fl oz tomato juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper finely chopped - pith and seed removed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 750g/1½ lb tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
  • 75ml/3 fl oz olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp marjoram, freshly chopped
  • 1 tsp basil, freshly chopped
  • Ice cubes