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Tra-la-lah, it's August! You might be spending time this month away on a holiday beach. But if you are a garden-lover, the chances are that you will want to enjoy relaxing in your own special outdoor space. After all, this is the month in which you have the best opportunity to reap the rewards of your labours. August is all about r&r. Isn't it? What could possibly go wrong?
Just settle back in a garden chair, a swing seat, perhaps. Relax. Enjoy the buzzing bees, the twittering birds and the fluttering butterflies. What could be better?
Gardens are not always relaxing...
It would be better if you just moved that shrub a metre to the left. Then it would screen the compost. Perhaps better do that now. Just pop and get the garden fork.
Oh, is that a cluster of aphids there on your rose stems? This is not what you want to see when you're relaxing in the garden.
And that cabbage white... where is it heading? Is there a hole in your brassica netting perhaps? Better just check.
Oh no, there are pesky butterfly eggs on the cabbages. Better just take off the netting and wash them off.
But what are these notches nibbled from your luscious bergenia foliage? Must have a look for vine weevil.
Check the pots...
Perhaps that's why the annuals in your pots are looking a bit sad and sorry. You really need to investigate their roots. And whilst you're about it, best check for lily beetle too.
Oh, look at those slugs and snails hiding here under all this shady foliage. If you just tie back the Clematis you can get a better look.
Gardeners just can't stop gardening
The gardener's lot is not one filled with relaxation. Who can just sit and look without jumping up to improve things? It's all about having a zest for life and for all things growing. But if you can just kerb your enthusiasm for a few hours here and there and give yourself a break you will feel as if a holiday has descended upon you.
Set yourself a restricted list of garden chores: work methodically through them and then take some time in the chair.
Here are six tasks you can whistle through in August before having some time off:
- Set a few slug and snail traps. They can work on your behalf while you read the newspaper: half grapefruit skins placed on the soil are a great organic method of attracting slimy things, as are beer-traps. There are biological controls available too.
- Use vine weevil nematodes during August as they will feast on larvae that might be lurking in your pots and borders.
- Prune your rambling roses and continue to dead-head all other roses unless you want rose hips.
- Trim lavender after flowering. This will encourage a flush of new growth that will have time to harden off before the winter.
- Keep deadheading perennials such as Salvias - then they will continue to flower right up to the first frosts.
- Add some plants to your garden this month that will extend your flowering season. There is often a gap in late summer. You might like an Indian summer palette including Dahlias; Asters and garden Chrysanthemums.