With so much changeable weather at the moment, it’s meaning our gardens are needing some extra special care. August is a great time to get out and enjoy the outdoors but it’s also a time that we need to give some extra focus to keeping our gardens looking luscious. It is a time when gardens often become a whole lot livelier. With colourful late-summer flowers coming into bloom, BBQs blazing, al fresco dining and lots of outdoor fun being enjoyed, the garden becomes the place to be.
There are most definitely a few jobs that need doing in the garden during August but don’t worry, we’ve got loads of hints and tips as to how to make the most of the great weather and tick off your jobs while you’re at it.
If you’ve been busy in the garden this year like so many of us have, your outdoor space should now be reaping the rewards and be full of colour as well as have plenty of veg ready for you to harvest and enjoy.
Flowers to sow right now
Your outdoor space is likely full of wonderful late-summer colour at the moment. If you want to get a head-start on next year’s colourful blooms, though, there are a few you can think about sowing now:
- Hardy annuals ready for a show of early colour next year – think cornflowers, marigolds and poppies. Best sown at the end of the month
- Winter-flowering pansies – sow now for a hit of colour in the cooler months
- Viola – sown now, these little gems will over-winter and give you gorgeous colour early spring
Vegetables to sow right now
As you’re harvesting your veg, you’ll likely find yourself with some empty spots needing filling. Now’s the perfect time to get prepared for autumn/winter crops as well as thinking about what you want to grow in spring. As gardeners, we’re always looking forward!
- Spring cabbages – last chance to sow outside. You’ll be thankful of these when they’re one of the only things ready to harvest next year!
- Pak choi – a delicious cold season vegetable
- Salad leaves – keep sowing these for regular crops
- Radish – it’s so quick to grow you can keep sowing radish right up to the end of August and beyond
With spring and summer having been a mix of heavy downpours and heatwaves, it’s been tricky knowing what to do when it comes to watering and caring for our gardens. Stay strong though – it’s vital to keep on top of the watering when it is dry and hot, as even a couple of days without water in summer heat can do a lot of damage to your plants. Read our blog on top tips for watering your garden to help you stay on top of it, as well as our blog on saving water: 7 ways to help you save water in the garden and at a home.
Using rainwater is an environmental win for gardeners, and having a water butt in this mixed weather is ideal to utilise all the rain when it does come so you can use it during the dryer spells. In addition, providing you don’t use too much washing-up liquid, you can also recycle your washing-up water – known as grey water – for watering non-edible plants. This is a great way to make the most of otherwise waste water.
How to water the lawn in a heatwave
We often find ourselves with a parched, sad-looking lawn after dry weather, and you’ve probably found yourself wondering if it will ever come back to life. The good news is that most grass is very hardy and will start to turn back to its former glory as soon as we start getting some regular rain again. If you want to keep your green lawn, there’s nothing for it but to keep it hydrated before it starts to show excessive signs of stress – but you must always check before switching on your hose pipe for any restrictions that may be in place in your area. Be sure to follow these tips for the most effective way to look after your lawn in a heatwave:
- Raise the height of your lawn mower to avoid weakening the grass
- Leave grass cuttings on the lawn to act as a mulch to keep any moisture in the soil
- Don’t water lawns any more than every 7 – 10 days, and only when the soil is dried out
- If the ground is hard, aerate the soil before watering so more water can get down to the roots
- Remember it will be green again when the rain comes back!
Reap what you sow
August is a fabulous time to delve into all the fruits and veggies you lovingly sowed earlier in the year. Perfect for picking at this time of year are berries and currants and all those salad essentials such as cucumbers, tomatoes, beetroot, sweetcorn, carrots and shallots. It is simply the perfect time to really enjoy seasonal, home-grown grub. Throw the veggies on the BBQ and use the fruit to create gorgeous pies, crumbles, ice creams, infused spirits and mocktails. Yummy.
Wild birds need our help in summer too!
During dry spells, hard ground makes it more difficult for birds to find food so it’s a great idea to continue supporting our feathered friends by placing some bird food outdoors in a bird feeder. Don’t forget to keep their bird baths topped up with water as well! Running low on feed or want to use up some scraps? You’ll have plenty of new best friends if you leave out fruit, cooked pasta, boiled rice, cheese and even uncooked, unsalted bacon rind too!
Make the most of cooking outdoors and enjoying every second in your garden before the weather starts to cool off. Fire up the BBQ, whether it’s a disposable BBQ for days out, or a massive family grill perfect for summer feasts. Don’t forget all your barbecue accessories, like coal, utensils skewers for kebabs and of course BBQ brushes for cleaning up when you’re done.
August is great for getting out there and enjoying your little slice of the great outdoors, so make sure you have somewhere to relax in comfort and style. Find time to slow down and just be. Put your feet up – you’ve earned it. If you haven’t already, choose a spot (or a few places if you’re lucky) where you can put some outdoor furniture – perfect for extending your living space outdoors.
Keep the kids entertained
Enticing the kids outdoors and away from screen time is no mean feat but when will there be a better chance for achieving it than over the summer holidays? Arm yourself with a range of fun garden games everyone can get involved with for some healthy competition. And a paddling pool is just the thing for some fun water games when it’s a hot day. You’re sure to be onto a winner – who doesn’t love to be outdoors splashing around, exploring and playing games? And if you’re looking to create some fun shade for little ones, how about their very own play house?
Don’t forget the sun cream!
Always remember to stay safe in the sun by covering up and protecting your skin. As well as hats and sunglasses, sun cream is essential – even on the mildest day, the sun can be powerful.
Fruit and Veg
- Continue sowing leafy salad crops
- Take cuttings of woody herbs to grow new plants from
- Plant/separate rooted strawberry runners
- Regularly pick runner beans to stop them being stringy
- Water veg daily if needed
- Cut back herbs to encourage new growth – dry out any you can’t use right away
- Keep on top of weeds by hoeing them out
- Turn compost in a compost bin once a month to aerate it and speed up the process
- Take cuttings from tender perennials
- Trim lavender by up to two thirds in the second half of the month
- Feed ericaceous shrubs like Rhododendron, Camellia, Azalea and summer-flowering heathers
- Prune rambling roses after flowering
- Keep containers well-watered and feed fortnightly
- Raise blades when trimming the lawn
- Give it a soak during hot, dry spells no more than once a week
Looking for more garden inspiration? Check out our garden department at wilko.com