August is the most popular time of year for vacations, which can result in having to leave the garden to fend for itself. If you are going away you will need to plan ahead to ensure that any seedlings, young plants, hanging baskets and tubs etc. are not left at the mercy of the hot weather and without water or you may return to a disappointing site in the garden. Therefore, either make arrangements for a friend or relative to water the garden or implement a strategy that will allow plants to cope, such as placing them in the shade and/or steeping vulnerable plants in trays of water or on capillary matting.
Routine summer chores such as watering, tidying up, weeding and mowing are much the same as for July and you should find there is less to do in the garden now, leaving you more time to enjoy it. This is because most plants have become established and are responding to the lower light levels and cooler evenings that late summer brings. In addition many pests, diseases and weeds will also have slowed down, although you can still expect some trouble from earwigs and mildew, and wasps may become a nuisance.
However, in the greenhouse, whitefly red spider mite will be just as active and grey mould could cause problems, so be ready with appropriate pesticides an fungicides. Keeping the green house well ventilated and high in humidity, will help to reduce these problems.
Harvesting of fruit, vegetables and herbs will be top priority this month. Flowers can also be freshly cut now for flower arrangements or to be dried for use in the winter season.
If keeping weeds as bay has kept you busier than you expected and you are looking for a way to cut down, then now is time to think about plant ground cover. There is now a wide range of pretty but undemanding plants that will quickly mat up to form a carpet in troublesome areas of the garden and provide years of trouble free cover. These include evergreen and herbaceous perennials, shrubs, especially low growing conifers, climbers, ferns and even ornamental grasses. It is best to choose plants that are relatively low growing and dense enough to exclude weeds, even when dormant.
Lastly, autumn is not far away now, so August is an ideal time to start planting spring bulbs ready for a good display next spring.
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