August, the season of summer holidays and barbeques! The work you’ve put into your garden is really paying off now as you get to enjoy the sun in it. But this time of year also brings its fair share of challenges so here are my top tips for getting through the hot season and making that transition into the autumn months.
Your lawn is likely to need very little mowing at this time of year, so concentrate on those borders. Mid-summer flowering plants are coming to an end now and will finish flowering quickly if you’re not able to water regularly. So it’s time to move on to some new planting to brighten up your borders for some late summer and early autumn interest. Here are my three top picks for planting this time of year:
The lovely warm yellow and red colouring of this daisy-like flower will cheer up borders for a roasting end to summer and look gorgeous as the trees start to turn. It’s also a good bee-attractor. Grows well in any soil with good drainage and full sun.
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora
There are many species of this south African native, but I’ve gone for this one because it’s one of the largest flowering types and it will give the garden a bright orange focus framed by green spears. This can be planted in well-drained soil in full sun.
Asters are a classic herbaceous plant and an old favourite with cottage gardeners. This particular aster provides long lasting colour for a stunning display, flowering from mid-summer through to November.
Salvia microphylla ‘Pink Blush’
This bushy plant provides great ground cover as it spreads well, useful for covering low weeds in borders. The leaves give off an aromatic smell and the pink blossoms form pairs of spikes. Plant in well-drained, moist soil in a sunny, south-facing garden.
Also give your fruit trees a light prune, especially apple and pear trees. Cut back overhanging branches to encourage healthy growth while avoiding the growing fruit.
In the Greenhouse
This year has been unusually hot, so if you’ve got seedlings in your greenhouse and you know it’s going to be a sunny day it’s a good idea to move them outside to stop them getting over-heated and drying out. Give them a good water in the morning and cover with netting to keep off the birds.
Top tip: now is the time to buy winter pansy seedlings.
Gardener’s Question Time! Laying Turf in Summer
Last month I invited you to send me gardening questions by email or on social media, and I had this one in from Mark, who asked, is it OK to lay turf at this time of year?
The answer is that you can lay turf at any time of year but doing it in August does require some extra care and attention as the grass plants get established. Make sure you use plenty of topsoil and a lawn fertiliser when laying, then during the hot weather water first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening for 30 minutes to keep the ground nice and moist.