General Gardening Tips for August

Container grown perennials, shrubs and trees can be planted this month. Always take time to properly prepare the soil by mixing generous quantities of peat moss, compost and processed manure with your existing soil.

Cuttings

If you think you would be interested in propagation, take cuttings from your favourite summer flowering plants. A lot of the material now will be semi-ripe and things like Escallonias, Cotoneasters, Berberis and other evergreens can be propagated at this time. Also, take the time to continue to propagate the tender plants that you would like to see through the winter safely under glass.

Take cuttings of tender perennial, such as Verbenas, Argyranthemums, Fuchsias, Salvias and Pelargoniums. Dip the cuttings into a hormone rooting compound and insert them into small pots of half and half peat and Perlite or peat and silver sand. Water well and keep the cuttings in a cold frame or even on warm windowsill out of direct sunlight. They should root within six and eight weeks and can then be potted up in Multi-Purpose compost and overwintered in a heated greenhouse or on a bedroom window.

Lawn

Don’t forget to make sure your lawn is kept cut and weeded. Towards the end of August is a good time to start feeding and weeding again and to carry out any aeration before the start of autumn. This is a good time to actually do it.

Raise the cutting height of the mower. Taller grass cools the roots and helps to keep the moisture in the soil longer and fewer weeds.

Get out those bulb catalogues, have a look and start deciding which bulbs you would like to order or purchase at the garden centres so that you can start planting in late August / September. There are many kinds available including daffodils, snowdrops, crocus and tulips which all give you a burst of colour early the following year.

What is the difference between herbaceous, perennial, biennial, hardy and half hardy annuals?

Hardy Annuals – Plant seed, Germinate, grow and flower in the same season.

Half Hardy Annuals – Have to be planted indoors and when frost is gone then can be planted outside.

Biennial – Are plants that grow leaves and stems in the first year but do not flower until the following year.

Perennial Flowers and Shrubs – These are plants that flower every year but may die back in winter.

Herbaceous Plants – Are plants that can grow up to several feet in one year, they can be very colourful and die back to the root stock in winter and grow back again the following year.

The fertilizer added to most potting composts only lasts for 6 weeks as it is washed out every time you water them, therefore you should add a slow release fertilizer like Osmocote, or Growmore, you could also add tomato feed or Miraclegrow.

Osmocote will last all summer so only has to be put in at the start.

As one of the most dangerous hobbies it is best to take a lot of care while working in your garden.

Hopefully some of these tips (very simple and not often followed) could help prevent injury.
● Always wear safety goggles and gloves while working in the garden.
● For long bamboos and thin stakes cover tops with old corks from wine bottles.
● Buy a pair of safety boots or Wellingtons with steel toe caps and soles to prevent foot injury.
● Never leave rakes or spades lying in the grass as somebody will walk on them and receive very nasty face injuries.
● If on ladder or step ladder always get somebody to stand on the end step.
● If using electric lawnmower or hedge trimmers firstly plug into outdoor circuit breaker, as cutting the cable by accident could be fatal.
● Please do not use chainsaws, this should be left to the professionals.
● Please keep patios and decks clean or algae and leaves as they can become very slippy.