WHAT TO DO IN MID AUGUST
- Check roses for suckers and break off any you find just below ground where they are joined to the stem
- Trim evergreen hedges to neaten their appearance and control height
- Empty pots of faded early summer bedding, adding old plants to the compost heap and replant with Autumn colour, include your Spring flowering bulbs when planting remember when buying bulbs, large size bulbs give you the best flowers
- Feed all roses and fruit trees with potash now. This year’s potash feed is next year’s fruit
- Potash applied now to tender shrubs will harden up the wood and ensure their survival in Winter
- Keep picking summer-sown salads to prevent the plants running to seed
- Plant garlic cloves and Winter onions outside, it’s still time to plant Winter salads outside.
- Cut laurel and photinia hedges using secateurs so you don't damage the remaining leaves
- Stake tall Brussels sprouts to stop them from blowing over
Repair any patches in your lawn. Bare patches can appear in your lawn after a thorough raking, where the grass is undernourished or where it's been worn out. These gaps should be reseeded to prevent moss and weeds colonising the soil and to allow your lawn to look its best all year round. Sow the patch with an appropriate seed mix, sprinkling half the grass seeds in one direction and the rest in the other. Lightly rake over the seed and protect it against birds with netting. A small sheet of polythene pegged over the area will encourage the grass seed to germinate quicker
Trim lavender after flowering to keep its shape, but avoid cutting into old wood.
Summer Pruning apple trees. Once apple trees are established it's best to summer prune the spur-fruiting varieties. This will encourage the development of short flowering shoots or 'spurs' that go on to bear clusters of fruit. Summer pruning is ideal for keeping the trees in shape and involves pruning the soft, current season's growth before it has chance to become woody. Cut back the leading shoots of each branch by half their length to encourage the production of side shoots. Only prune the current season's growth in this way, cutting to just above a leaf. Cut back all remaining side shoots to two or three leaves from the base of the current season's leafy growth, cutting just above the bud. The soft stems and leaves that are cut off apple trees during summer pruning are perfect to add to the compost heap where they'll rot down quickly. Always prune to an outward-facing bud so that the centre of the bush or tree is kept open. This helps reduce problems with pests and diseases.
Give it a try... While many container displays are looking past their best by August, a late-summer display will brighten up a corner of the patio right through autumn. Flowers that peak in late-summer are pretty wide-ranging, as are shrubs, climbers and herbaceous perennials. Ornamental grasses and chrysanthemums will give you a display that will revival any summer planter. The use of ornamental cabbages and chilli’s brings some extra colour to pots and creates interest. I particularly love cabbages grouped together in either rustic garden planters or low baskets. They also can bring some great colour and texture to mixed container planters. Sedum, also known as stonecrop, is a classic autumn plant for containers because that’s when it looks its best. Blooming in late summer to early autumn, sedum is easy to grow in containers, preferring good drainage and full sun, though most will tolerate some shade. Sedums are a particularly good choice of plant for an autumn container that you want to leave out all winter because the dried flowers can look beautiful, especially covered with frost.