Although mid-August is usually a time for putting your feet up in your garden – preferably with a nice cold drink – there are still some jobs which you need to keep on top of, no matter how sunny it is. Here Nelson Potter, who supply timber sheds and a range of high-quality garden furniture to customers across Suffolk, identify some of the key tasks you should carry out to keep your garden in pristine condition.
How much you water depends on the weather and your plants. Established trees and shrubs should not need much moisture, while newly-sown flowers and bedding plants will be much thirstier. Aim for the roots of the plant rather than the tips of any leaves, as this is much more effective – if the foliage is too moist then fungal diseases can become a problem.
The Royal Horticultural Society recommends early-morning watering, as this is when plants need most moisture. If you do it in the evening, then the surface of your soil could stay damp overnight, which could attract unwanted snails, slugs and mildew-related diseases. However, the evening is still a better time than during the heat of the day, when a lot of the water will be lost to evaporation.
If you can, try to use ‘grey’ water, from a water butt or recycled from your sink, bath or shower. Even if there isn’t a hosepipe ban in force, using these eco-friendly supplies will help cut your water bill.
It’s always a good idea to keep the levels of mulch topped up on existing flower beds, although this is best left until early autumn. This mix of organic materials will encourage plant growth as well as suppressing any weeds which may be trying to break through.
Ensure you don’t allow the mixture to come into direct contact with any of the plants you are trying to protect and encourage, as this can soften their stems and make them more vulnerable to disease.
Apple and pear trees should be pruned in August, but you should be careful about which shoots you cut back. Trim the newer shoots which are more than 8 inches long and remove any upright, vigorous growth. All of this will allow more light through to any existing fruit before you pick it, and it will also promote healthier growth next year.
Wisteria can also get rather straggly and untidy unless you prune it now. Cut back any green shoots to about five or six leaves now, as this will promote healthy growth. Ideally the plant should be pruned again in January or February, just before the main growing season starts.
Lavender is another plant which should be trimmed back in late summer. Remove any spent flower stalks and around an inch of leaf growth. And keep on deadheading your roses to extend the growth into early autumn.
Late summer is a good time to give your garden furniture a fresh lick of paint or varnish. This includes sheds, summerhouses, tables and chairs, and any fencing or decking. Choose a period of time when you are guaranteed a reasonably long spell of dry weather, as you wooden surfaces should be sanded down, cleaned and left to dry before you pick up your paint brushes.
Use masking tape to protect any metalwork on your shed or summerhouse, and cover any plants growing nearby with dust sheets or newspaper (or patio, if you are painting your tables and chairs in situ). It’s best to put a coat of primer on all garden buildings first, as this provides an extra layer of protection and makes it easier to apply the final coats of paint or wood preservative more evenly.
Moving Into Autumn
In September, keen gardeners should start planning for the following spring. Bulbs such as snowdrops, mini daffodils and hyacinths should be planted for a splash of early spring colour.
Early autumn is also a good time to carry out lawn repairs, aerating it with a fork and reseeding any dead or bare patches.
Clean out your greenhouse to make space for the winter growing season, and cover up any ponds with netting to protect the water from leaves and other garden debris.
Timber Sheds and Garden Furniture from Nelson Potter
We are continuing to supply high-quality timber sheds, summerhouses and a wide range of other garden products, including fencing, decking and gates, to customers across Suffolk and East Anglia. Please bear with us if it takes a little longer to fulfil your order as we are following all the Government advice on COVID-19.
We are recommending you place your order online. Although our yards at Woodbridge and Ipswich are now open for ‘on the day’ purchases we have a number of safety measures in place. On some occasions we may need to restrict the numbers of people we allow in at any one time.
We are aiming to fulfil all online orders within eight days of them being placed and all deliveries will be kerbside and non-contact. Follow this link to log into our online shop. We are also offering a click and collect service – once you have placed your order online we will be in touch to sort out dates and times.