The most important thing this month is to enjoy your garden as for many gardeners the month of August begins the downhill slide into off season. Warm climate gardeners have a second chance as August is usually one of the hottest months of the year and best time simply enjoy your garden and all the hard work we've put into it.

Remember to water and feed:

Water your plants regularly, especially those in hanging baskets, pots or containers as well as climbers and roses growing against a sunny wall. Newly planted areas water every day as many plants will not recover from a drought. If possible, set up an automatic watering system for borders even containers and newly planted areas. To ensure that next year's buds develop well Keep your Camellias and Rhododendrons well watered at this time of year. Feed patio container plants with a liquid fertiliser every fortnight.

Lawns:

Mow regularly but slow down on feed and water. Don't worry if your lawn is looking brown, the autumn rains will soon make it green again. It is a waste of time and will promote vigorous growth that may not stand up to the rigours of winter. Come autumn, feed with a high phosphate content fertiliser to promote root growth and strengthen the grass for winter.
If it has grown out of control whilst you have been away cut it first with the mower blades on the highest setting and then on progressively lower settings until back to the usual level – this will train the grass to grow leafily again. Lawn growth slows down in late summer so raise the cutting height of your lawn mower to help the grass cope.
If you are planning a new lawn, start preparing the area by digging and clearing weeds.Give it time to settle.
If your lawn is infested by ants, brush out the nests on a dry day. Always brush them away before mowing. Is is now a good time to treat lawn chafers and leatherjackets with nematodes.

Borders:

Weeding. Boring but vital. Keep on top of weeds in borders, containers, all your pots and the vegetable gardens. Weeds not only look messy but use valuable moisture in the ground. Weeding on a sunny day will ensure weeds left on the surface dry out and die in the warmth. While clearing borders, Tt

  • Stake tall or top heavy Dahlias and Lilies to prevent wind and rain damage.
  • Dead-head bedding plants and perennial plants to stop them self-seeding and to encourage further flowering into the autumn.
  • Keep an eye out for white powdery mildew on plants. If possible, remove the affected parts and spray with a fungicide to prevent further spread.
  • Look for aphids on the underside of leaves - rub them off by hand or spray with an insecticide to prevent them multiplying. Alternatively try using a natural pest control such as Lacewing larvae.
  • If your plants are wilting check for vine weevils by tipping your plants out of their pots and looking for 'C' shaped creamy maggots amongst the roots. Treat with nematodes if vine weevils are spotted.
  • Prevent slugs attacking your young plants by using slug pellets
  • Mow wildflower meadows
Trimming and pruning:

Keep hedges neat and under control for both their appearance and good relations with the neighbours
  • Cut back faded perennials to keep borders tidy.
  • Trim your lavender plants after they’ve finished flowering to keep them compact.
  • Cut back rosemary after flowering without cutting too far into the old wood Cut back herbs now to encourage a new flush of tasty leaves you can harvest before the frost.
  • Prune summer flowering shrubs once they have finished blooming.
  • Prune your Wisteria after flowering by removing all the whippy side-shoots from the main branch framework to about 20cm from their base (about five leaves from the main stem).
  • Prune climbing roses and rambling roses once they've finished flowering (unless they are repeat-flowerers in which case leave them).It's too late to spray roses for blackspot now - once established spraying will not help.Pick off infected leaves and burn; do not put them on a compost heap where the spores will spread the disease.

Other jobs:
  • Keep bird baths topped up in hot weather.
  • Scoop floating weed and algae from ponds. Try using Pond Wizard to clear your pond effectively.Keep your pond topped up, free of pond weed and clean – green algae can be toxic to pets.
  • Use boiling water as a weed killer on your paved areas. Weeds wilt and die within a few days.
  • Turn the compost in your compost bins every month to keep it well aerated and to speed up decomposition.
  • Think about which bulbs you would like for next spring - now is the time to order ready for autumn planting.
  • Order your perennial plants online now ready for autumn delivery.

It is also great tim to photograph the garden now to help you plan any changes in autumn and spring.

Happy Gardening
ELCGardens Team