Garden with Tom in August

Tom enjoying the floral fruits of his labours

Tom enjoying the floral fruits of his labours - Credit: Tom Strowlger

The last month of meteorological summer is upon us, says gardener Tom Strowlger, and we will hopefully be enjoying some holiday time.

With the children off school our gardens will have their busiest month of the year.  

August is like no other gardening month before or after it; we must cherish this month as early Autumn is just around the corner and colours will change as the days start to shorten.  

August is often the hottest time of the year so our plants will need to be sufficiently watered to ensure they thrive beyond this month.  

It would be nice to have as much colour for as long as possible. To be sure that plants get moisture into the roots we should water directly into the base of the plants and ideally in the evening when the risk of evaporation is reduced and they can sit in the moisture overnight. If you go away on holiday, then it is very important that someone waters your garden while you are away.  

The late summer days can be very hot and can still bring occasional strong winds - refreshing for us but not for our plants.  

We need to ensure our taller flowers are protected from wind damage by using plant supports. The ideal plant support will be as tall as the plant stem and allow you to tie it in almost to the tallest flower. 

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The dahlias and lilies will certainly need support to keep their top-heavy flowers up straight, we don’t want any of our tall flowering plants to be knocked over and damaged as that will bring our floral colour to a sad and premature end.  

The lawn can start to turn brown in hotter weather; this isn’t something to worry about as the grass will go dormant until the rain returns.  

However, if we want to keep it healthy, green and lush then watering it a couple of evenings per week will help it maintain a healthier look and feel.  

The growth of grass slows in late summer so use a higher cutting setting on your lawnmower to encourage healthier grass.  

Make sure you take some time you enjoy the garden, not just work in it, says Tom

Make sure you take some time you enjoy the garden, not just work in it, says Tom - Credit: Tom Strowlger

If you spot any ant nest mounds in your lawn, then remember to thoroughly brush them into your grass before mowing.  

The hot weather will make it easier for weeds, pests and diseases to thrive, meaning our gardening jobs are never quite finished.  

We should still be looking out for aphids, lily beetles, vine weevils and slugs among our leaves and flowers.  

In the first instance gently remove the pest by hand and then seek the relevant treatment to reduce the risk of them damaging your plant further, this could be an organic spray. By keeping your plants as healthy as possible it will allow them to flourish for a few more weeks and maybe beyond depending on the weather in early autumn.  

So let’s enjoy the last gardening month of summer and make sure we get outside as much as possible, enjoying the garden at times when we would otherwise be distracted by routine.  

We should take a moment to reflect on the gardening year so far and think about what we want to see in our next August gardens; a quick photo of the garden can be a great help when planning for summer 2023.  

Lastly, very well-done fellow gardeners, may you enjoy the summer floral fruits of your labour.  

Please follow me on Instagram @garden_with_tom for more seasonal gardening advice and tips.  

Wake up and smell the flowers!

Wake up and smell the flowers! - Credit: Tom Strowlger

Tom’s top tips 

Deadhead spent flowers 

Give your hedges a trim and tidy  

Use water from a water butt as much as possible 

Turn compost to speed up decomposition  

Keep topping up the birdbath