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In due season – August

This is another month when you will probably not want to do any more than you have to. if you are feeling well off, it might be an idea to treat yourself to some garden furniture, then you can get as much out of the garden by relaxing in it as you put into it with days of honest toil.

Bulb and other catalogues are usually available from now onwards, so arm yourself with a pile of these and a long cold drink (or hot soup, and watch the rain pouring down) and get your orders in early – first come, first served.

Another leisure activity you might like to try during the summer months is visiting gardens which are open to the public. They are not all attached to stately homes, many are small private ones open for charity under local or national schemes. Some of these sell off their surplus plants and you can often pick up a bargain. You can also get a lot of good ideas which you could adapt for your own purposes. Also many major seed companies open their trial grounds to the public in August. This is a marvellous opportunity to see how particular varieties have stood up to rigorous trial conditions and make some notes on things you might like to try yourself next year.

However, if you feel like doing something rather more strenuous, most of the jobs suggested for July can still be done this month, except it is rather late for successional vegetable sowings, but if you use really quick-maturing varieties, and you do not want the space for anything else, it is worth a try. It is also rather late for budding roses but given the best conditions, this should still be successful. You could also be doing the following:

in the ornamental garden. Keep hoeing, dead-heading, watering and hand weeding. Stop feeding or apply an autumn, high-phosphate feed.

Prune rambler roses by removing the oldest flowered wood. Train the new growths to fit the space available.

Clip lavender and other quick-growing hedges.

Sow hardy annuals for early flowering next year, but if your garden is cold and wet, it is better to wait until next spring.

Plant autumn-flowering bulbs such as colchicums (naked ladies) and Crocus speciosus (the true autumn-flowering crocus). Some lilies and other summer bulbs can be planted now, and towards the end of the month, winter bulbs, daffodils especially, will be available.

Order bulbs and ornamental plants from catalogues.

Start planting out biennials for spring and summer bedding.

Prepare lawn areas for seeding next month.

the vegetable garden. Sow spring cabbage, spinach, beet and endive. Also winter lettuce, Japanese onions, winter radishes.

Lift onions and ripen off for storing. Also lift second early potatoes.

Continue picking and harvesting crops when ready. Runner and French beans especially should be picked regularly to prevent them going out of flower. Make sure runner beans have plenty of water.

Earth up leeks, celery and the stems of winter brassicas to prevent windrock. Provide Brussels sprouts with stakes if it is likely they will get blown about, otherwise the sprouts will not be firm and hard but will ‘blow’ and be loose and open.

Plant winter brassicas.

Dig ground as it becomes vacant.

Stop outdoor tomatoes after five trusses.

fruit. In addition to the jobs described for last month, this is the best time of the year for planting new strawberries.

in the greenhouse. Continue sowing annuals for winter flowering. Feed and water growing crops and watch temperature, humidity and ventilation.

Remove lower leaves from tomato plants, and dead and yellowing leaves on all crops under glass.

Pot up prepared bulbs for indoor display and place in a cool, dark place to start into growth.

generally. Continue composting all green waste except diseased material, which is best burnt.

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