Gardening Tips for August 2012
Stop feeding roses now. Feeding will encourage soft growth that won’t have a chance to ripen before the winter. It will then be prone to diseases. Deadhead roses to prevent the production of seed (rose hips), which will tire out the plant.
Rambler roses that have finished flowering can be pruned now. Cut the long old stems that flowered this year, but leave non-flowering shoots as these may bloom next year. Clean up fallen rose and peony leaves. They can harbour disease and insect pests over the winter if allowed to remain on the ground. If you notice large purple spots on the surface of your rose leaves, it’s probably suffering from black spot. Remove infected leaves. Do not put in compost bin.
Finish the trimming of all hedges this month as it allows new growth to ripen before winter. Conifer hedges should get their annual trim this month to prevent them becoming overgrown. Prune individual leaf sprays with secateurs rather than a hedge trimmer or shears, as cutting across the leaf spray on conifers can turn the remaining ends brown.
Give lavender a light trim as the flowers fade – it stops the plant from becoming leggy and helps generate ample flowering next year.
Do not add weeds with mature seed heads to the compost pile. Many weed seeds can remain active and germinate next year when the compost is used.
● For a natural look, water plants should be left alone as much as possible.
● Remove duckweed with a net, since other plants may suffocate if left beneath it. Empty the net on the ground and check for tadpoles and newts which can usually be seen and replaced in the pond.
● Keep the foliage of water lilies under control. Just like duckweed they can suffocate other water plants.
● Regularly check for algae and remove it straight away.
● If the water level falls due to evaporation, fill it back up bit by bit so as not to cool down the pond too much at once.
● If the pond water turns cloudy, check if your oxygenating plants are still there and maybe add some new ones. Water fleas can often also help do the trick.
● Marginal plants will need to be watered regularly too.
Place a rock on the sunny side of the pond. Frogs like to sit and sunbathe in such a place. Butterflies too appreciate a warm spot like this. Dry spells may ensure certain animals such as hedgehogs, badgers or foxes appear during the day to drink from the pond as they struggle to find food. Sunlight encourages pond weed and green water. Try to shade at least part of the surface of the pond.
Make sure to check the hanging baskets and container grown plants every day for water during hot weather and about every second day on moderate summer days. Don’t just check the surface… push your finger an inch or two into the soil to be sure there is adequate moisture below throughout the root area. Water them thoroughly each time you water, but be careful not to overwater them.
Perennial and biennial plants can be started from seed sown directly into the garden this month or next.