What to do in your garden this August
Between summer holidays, rainy downpours and the kids or grandchildren being around much more, there is still so much to do in the garden this month.
As the summer begins to fade away, so do some of the beautiful flowers in our gardens. As much as we would love to hang on to the colours of summer now is the right time to remove some of those dead flowers and keep an eye on those that have started to fade. Not only does deadheading help to keep your garden looking better, it helps to keep it healthier. By removing those dead parts the plant stops trying to feed the area and can focus the nutrients on staying alive for longer.
The stunning colours and scent of lavender is something that all garden enthusiasts have come to know and love. Pruning your lavender towards the end of August allows for any new buds to grow through and harden up just in time for winter. When pruning, you should aim to take the bush back by around two thirds.
This is a great time to bring that scent into your house. Lavender should take between two and four weeks to completely dry. Once dry you should be able to simply brush the leaves from the stem, into your choice of container, whether this be an ornate dish or a small hessian bag.
By the time August rolls around we have already begun to pick fruits from our garden, and other selections will be ripe enough to collect soon.
Strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants should all have come to an end and will need tending to. By transplanting strawberry plants now, they have time to root in before the winter hits. Raspberry stalks will need to be taken right down after all fruit has been picked, in preparation for next year’s growth. And blackcurrant bushes require a trim of around one third to give a healthy growth.
Now is a good time to keep an eye on some of the heavier trees in the garden too, whilst many apple varieties are not quite ready to harvest, their branches may be struggling. If you have a bountiful harvest weighing down one of your branches, propping up the branch with a support relieves some of the weight and helps to save the branch from snapping.
When it comes to watering your plants the best thing you can use is rain water. While we all know we can’t always rely on good old British weather, after all it always rains when we don’t want it to, you’ll find yourself wanting the rain to arrive during periods of dry weather.
To give your plants the best chances during those dry periods we recommend collecting rain water while you can. From buckets hidden behind the shed, to large water butts strategically placed, there are many ways of catching water to use when you need it.
Another great water source for your plants is fish tank water. The waste created by fish is a great food source for your flowers, so when you do those pesky water changes, make sure you transfer the water into your watering can, your flowers will thank us later.
During periods of hot weather we shouldn’t forget our feathered friends! While there is usually plenty around for them to eat, from seeds to left out fruit, a nice cool bird bath is always a welcome pleasure.
Contrary to popular belief, birds aren’t that fussy about the type of bath they have! We’ve all seen them popping into a puddle in the road from time to time after all. If you’re looking for an attractive birdbath you can find a variety including both stone and painted glass. If you are looking for a cheaper option, an old fruit bowl filled with water will do just fine.
If you were already thinking about starting to compost, August is a great time to make a start. From pruning back perennials, to disposing of “past its best” fruits, old lawn trimmings and exchanging summer flowers for winter, there will be plenty of garden waste.
The main two options to consider when composting are: open composting and bin composting.
When doing an open compost heap the main thing to consider is pests. Whilst it is the quickest form of composting, as the open air and weather will be a big help in the process, you will need to consider what it is you are composting. If you are looking to add kitchen waste, this may not be the right option for you. If you are looking to purely add garden waste, this method should be great, and will produce some great compost for your garden.
When you are looking to compost kitchen waste or looking to contain the compost to a specific area (or out of site) there are many containers on the market. Many composting containers have an opening at the base for you to use the furthest along compost in your garden, while still adding to the collection.
Here at Abingdon’s Complete Garden Services we can help with a whole range of tasks due this month. So if there’s something you need a helping hand with, or whether it’s not something you fancy doing yourself, contact us today, and we’ll be happy to discuss your requirements and any ongoing maintenance you may need.