The Gardener's Journal is a free monthly gardening guide delivered direct to your inbox.

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.

Monday 8 August 2022

This Month in Your Garden - August

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience.
Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.
Hal Borland, writer. 

It’s a good job grass is durable and persistent with one of the hottest July’s on record and more drought forecast. Even the most comprehensive watering regime would be hard pressed to keep a green lawn in these conditions. Thankfully, the grass will recover and green-up when the rains come. So best turn our attention to other thirsty areas of the garden. 

If you are using a water butt to conserve water, you are likely soon to run out. There are grey water alternatives, where bath, kitchen sink water, dishwasher and washing machine water are diverted to use in the garden. Regard this with caution because untreated grey water may expose you to disease-causing pathogens, while salts and chemicals can damage plants and soil. 

You would need a comprehensive system that treats the water for purity and most of the options will use additional energy which is not very ‘green’. Mulching round plants and shrubs is a good way to keep the moisture in, using home made compost or bark mulch after you have given them a good watering. It will help slow down evaporation. 

And so onto a few other jobs you can potter around doing in the sunshine. Deadhead roses, dahlias and penstemons for more growth and colour in the autumn. Take cuttings of roses, pelargoniums, hydrangeas and alpines to propagate new plants. Re-pot azaleas and propagate pinks and carnations by layering or take cuttings. 

  • Take cuttings or move self-seeded plants for more plants around the garden
  • Collect and store seeds from dried flower heads 
  • Cut back hardy geraniums for a new flush
  • Feed container-grown plants and flowers and water hanging baskets
  • Feed container plants with liquid tomato feed
  • Collect and store seeds
  • Prune rambling roses after flowering
  • Trim hedges

The Lawncare Guide - August

How to be a top dresser

The near drought conditions look like being with us for a good while and the lawn is suffering from the lack of rain. If you decide to water it, you need to do this intensely about once a week, giving it a thorough soaking for about 20 to 30 minutes. That way, the roots will push down deeper and help promote top growth. However, in many instances, it’s not enough to stop the dried out look and besides, we could be edging towards a hosepipe ban. 

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. My lawn looks really stressed from drought and the kids playing games on it. What can I do about it?

The Vegetable Plot - August

Coming and sowing 

Cut and come again is easy with both succession sowing and choosing suitable leafy crops. Fast-growing lettuces from seed include Tom Thumb and Little Gem, but most lettuces and salad leaves provide pickings over a long period. 

The Big Glut - August

Barbecued courgettes with dill, goat’s cheese, mint and yoghurt

A starter for 4 or as a side dish from House & Garden/River Cottage Handbook.


  • 4–6 medium courgettes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 3 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 150g soft goat’s or ewe’s cheese
  • ½ small garlic clove, peeled and grated
  • A small bunch of chives, thinly sliced
  • 6–8 sprigs of dill, chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint, plus whole leaves to garnish
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper