Garden tasks for August 2014

Flower garden

Plant out new roses in rich, well-drained soil, with plenty of compost.
Complete pruning of your roses in time for spring growth.
Plant out bulbs for summer flowering – gladioli, galtonia, tigridia, late-blooming nerines and amaryllis.
Late August is a good time to lift and divide perennials like hemerocallis (day-lilies) and also plants like grasses, hellebores and ferns which don’t like to be split in autumn.
Lightly trim sasanqua camellias that have finished flowering.
Tie in wayward growths on climbers such as bougainvillea, and give a light prune to tidy up.
Prune your wisteria now – cut back to spurs, each with 2-3 fat buds.

Complete pruning of deciduous, summer-flowering shrubs such as buddleias, fuchsias and hydrangeas.
Dead-head proteas, and leucodendrons as flowering finishes. Cut them back quite hard but make sure you leave a little leafy growth behind.
Protect hostas from slugs and snails with a copper barrier, old coffee grounds or sharp grit.
Lift and divide snowdrops as they finish flowering – they are best handled ‘in the green’.
Sow seeds of alyssum, begonia, carnation, celosia, cosmos, dahlia, dianthus, marigold, petunia, phlox, viscaria, zinnia, nemesia, delphinium and viola.
Plant out seedlings of pansies, viola, polyanthus, cineraria, stock, poppy, cornflower, hollyhock, carnations, cosmos and Canterbury bells.

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Vegetable garden

Plant out your early season potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes. Use frost cloth to protect sprouting potatoes from late frost.
Plant asparagus crowns into prepared garden beds.
Rhubarb roots, strawberry runners and garlic can also be planted now.
Fertilise all fruit trees – spread evenly over root zone, taking care to keep away from the trunk.
Protect fruit tree blossom from late frosts.
Prune and tie-in espaliered and fan-trained fruit trees.
Sow seeds of plants that need a long growing season such as tomatoes, peppers (capsicums and chillies) and aubergines in pots or trays for planting out later.
If your soil is warm and friable sow beetroot, cabbages, leeks, cauliflowers, lettuces, peas, radishes, silver-beet, spinach and turnips. If in doubt, sow in trays for planting out later when the weather is warmer.
Plant your seedlings of cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, broccoli, silver-beet and spinach.
Plant out perennial herbs such as thyme, marjoram, tarragon, sage and parsley, and divide up and transplant old plants in fresh soil.

Lawns

Evenly apply a balanced lawn fertiliser to stimulate new growth. Moss can be a problem in poorly drained or shady areas of lawn. – rake area thoroughly and apply a solution of sulphate of iron (10g per square metre) to kill moss.

Second thoughts

Re-pot indoor plants and overgrown patio plants.
Spring feeding and mulching pays dividends later. A layer of good compost mulch will suppress weeds and retain moisture.