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Monday 4 August 2014

This Month in your Garden – August

Relax, admire your work

August is the hot month, not just in weather terms but also in the colourful display you can enjoy with phlox, alstromerias (Peruvian lily or lily of the Incas), helianthus (sunflowers), kniphofias (red hot pokers), heleniums and rudbeckias and bedding plants like pelargoniums, marigolds and salvias.

Now you might want to cool down with the contrasting greys and silvers of stachys or ‘lambs ears’, Senecio, lavender, sage and variegated ivy. Dry, hot areas of the garden can also be a good home for succulents such as echeveria and mesembyanthemums.

Things to do this month: make sure there’s plenty of ventilation in the greenhouse and maintain humidity by misting water over the plants. Provide shading where needed. Finish trimming evergreen hedges and topiary by the end of the month. You can take cuttings of zonal and ivy-leaved pelargoniums (geraniums) and root them in pots of sandy compost. Brompton stocks can be sown in John Innes seed compost for flowering next spring.

If you have opened packets of half-hardy annuals from spring sowings you can sow them in containers in sheltered, sunny areas for a splash of late colour. Freesia corms potted up at the beginning of August can give you a supply of flowers for Christmas while Madonna lily bulbs planted now in warm, sunny places and well-drained soil will reward with a stunning display next summer.

Hydrangeas that have finished flowering will benefit from light pruning, cutting off the flower truss to the first growth bud. Keep deadheading annuals, roses and tender perennials to prolong flowering until the first frosts. Enjoy dining in the garden with a toast to the salads and vegetables you’ve successfully grown.

  • Deadhead roses to encourage flowers into winter    
  • Take shrub cuttings such as hydrangea
  • Repot and start arum lilies
  • Restart cyclamen
  • Cut back pansies and violas to get basal growth for cuttings
  • Pot early narcissus (daffodils) for Christmas flowers
  • Trim hedges
  • Look out for seedlings in borders and get free plants
  • Summer prune vigorous shrubs and climbers
  • Continue to bud roses

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