August can seem like ‘the end of the show’ in terms of the garden, but in many ways it’s just the beginning; now is the time to think about bulbs for next year, as well as perennials you might want to order and plant in the autumn. While some flowers might be fading, grasses and seedheads are really coming into their own and, as the light changes and the shadows lengthen, the August garden can deliver a really atmospheric experience.

Planning next year’s display…

Keep watering camellias so they make buds for next year.

Plan your bulbs for next season and order them early as popular varieties sell out quickly.

Collect seed pods from plants that are setting seed.

Take cuttings from tender perennials to overwinter on a windowsill.

Plant new hardy perennials so they have time to establish good roots before the winter and will be in place ready for next spring.

A little pruning and tidying…

If you haven’t done so already cut back vigorous hardy geraniums like ‘Johnson’s Blue’, so that they put on a second flush of growth and stop the garden looking too overgrown.

Prune rambling roses after they have flowered as well as wisteria, summer flowering shrubs and lavender. As ever, keep dead-heading plants to prolong flowering.

Stake any tall plants, if you haven’t already, to stop them collapsing on others.

Mow your wild flower meadow if you have one, as the plants will have set seed now. Collect all the trimmings and compost to keep fertility down.

Cut back fruited canes of summer fruiting raspberries.

Harvesting…

August is all about reaping the rewards of your efforts in the garden. Select seed potatoes from those you might already be growing, ready to sow to give you new potatoes at Christmas.

Sow brassicas and make a last sowing of beetroot.

Divide chives and cut back herbs to encourage a second flush of growth.

Cut back fennel before it sets seed as it can become quite invasive.

Transplant strawberry runners into new pots to create new plants.

Keep harvesting fruits as they ripen and vegetables. Ensure you check produce daily and water frequently.

Other jobs…

Keep pots and containers watered and fed.

Top up the pond in hot weather.

Ventilate and damp down the greenhouse on hot days.

Don’t worry if the lawn turns brown it will recover in the autumn. Keep newly laid lawn watered and cut the whole lawn on a higher setting.

Enjoy the last few days of the summer holidays in the garden and look forward to the colours of autumn.