Preparing your garden for autumn
PUBLISHED: 16:38 29 July 2016 | UPDATED: 16:39 29 July 2016
We find out some great tips on how to get your garden ready for the autumn months
Yet another summer where the sun rarely has his hat on and the rain feels relentless. Even the keenest gardener can be forgiven for ensuring any time spent outdoors has been purely for pleasure but as you continue to sneak in a barbeque whenever possible, it’s still important to get back to business and maintain your outdoor space.
August is usually the hottest month of the year, so it’s essential to keep on top of things, particularly watering. All of your flora will feel the heat and rain won’t necessarily make it through to the compost and give them the good dousing they need so it’s vital to water every day.
If you’re taking a holiday, place pots and baskets in shady areas if possible and be sure to ask a friend or neighbour to give your floral arrangements a regular drink to keep them looking good.
The heat can also cause havoc in the greenhouse so it’s important to keep it well-ventilated and, if necessary, shaded to keep your plants from wilting. Water features, from ponds to bird baths, should also be regularly topped up.
Another task for this month is pruning and dead-heading plants such as climbing and rambling roses which won’t flower again to keep your garden looking tidy. Trimming back bedding plants and perennials can also promote growth and encourage them to flower into the autumn.
If you’re growing herbs, cutting them back too can encourage new growth and keep your cabinet stocked for longer.
The taller plants in your garden, such as dahlias and lilies, should be staked at this time of year to protect them from the wind and rain.
It’s still important to keep on top of your lawn but you would be wise to set blades higher for a light mow at this time of year. As tempting as it might be to water your grass as it starts to look a little dry and bare, don’t as the rain will be sufficient to get it back to its best. It’s also a great time to give those hedges a final trim before the winter.
August is also the perfect time to stop pesky weeds in their tracks while they are at peak growth. Remove and use weed killer where necessary and you’ll make the most boring job significantly easier for next year.
Looking ahead, towards the end of the month you can start sowing hardy spring flowers such as pansies and calendulas and begin to collect seeds from your favourite plants ready for propagation.
It’s also a good time to put in an early order for any bulbs you want in bloom next year. Some, like Madonna lilies and daffodils, can be planted towards the end of the month.
Just a little light gardening will get you ahead for next season and not interfere, too much, with your summer fun.
Top five summer jobs
Watering: Everything from pots to ponds will need a regular top up.
Pruning: A regular trim can promote growth.
Dead-heading: Five minutes a day with the secateurs will keep things tidy.
Mowing: Keep it light and regular to get your lawn back to its best.
Plan ahead: Take seeds for propagating and order bulbs to get ahead for spring.