August

In the garden:

Rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias should be kept well fed with an ericaceous feed. Give plenty of water too.

Dahlias and lilies can be susceptible to wind damage, so keep them well staked with canes or similar supports.

As lavender plants finish flowering give them a light pruning. All you’re looking to do is maintain a good compact bush shape.

Summer flowering shrubs can also be pruned once they’ve finished flowering.

Fruit and veg:

Continue to feed tomatoes and other tender vegetables.

Once your tomatoes have reached the height that suits you, cut out the top of the plant so growth energy will be directed into the ripening fruit.

Beetroot and carrots that were planted in the spring can be harvested now. They can be stored but taste much better straight from the ground, so just harvest as you eat them unless they’re getting too big.

Runner beans and French beans will set seed if you don’t keep picking. Both freeze very well.

Weeds will continue to thrive during the summer, fighting your crops for nutrients, so keep on top of your weeding routine.

A quick trim of herb plants might encourage a second growth of fresh, new leaves before they start to die back in the autumn.

Keep planting if you want more fresh, young vegetables as the season draws to a close. Some plants will be coming to the end of their productive life giving you room to plant quick-maturing veg in their place.

Strawberries should still be putting out runners. If you’d like more plants next year then continue to plant these runners, which should root naturally. Cut the connection to the mother plant and you have a new strawberry plant. It’s a good idea to limit the number of new plants you allow an old plant to produce to three, any more and it might weaken it. Simply cut off any runners you don’t want to root and pull out any rooted new plants that are surplus to requirements. You can root these runners into pots too.

Keep watering, especially plants that are fruiting or developing fruit.

Once you’ve harvested blackcurrants prune the stems back. Fruit comes on new growth, so target older stems. Consult a gardening guide for a detailed guide to pruning blackcurrant bushes, which benefit from a more structured pruning every three years or so.

Other jobs:

It’s pruning time for hedges and evergreen plants before they become dormant.

Keep an eye out for vine weevils in plants that are struggling, particularly container grown plants. Pick off any of the small, dull-black beetles you see and look out for the white, c-shaped grubs that will eat roots. Good wildlife gardening will encourage the vine weevil’s natural predators, there are also chemical treatments.

After flowering and fruiting plants both vegetable and flowering plants will start to produce seed. You can collect your own.

If you’re thinking of planting a new lawn, it’s nearly time to plant grass seed, so prepare sites well. Get the ground level, take out any stones and remove weeds.