Garden tasks for August 2015

F_AU15_garden-clematis.jpgFlower garden

  • Continue planting new roses in rich, well-drained soil, with plenty of compost, and finish pruning existing plants in time for spring growth.
  • Prune early flowering shrubs, such as sasanqua camellias, as soon as they have finished flowering. Jackmanii-type clematis, which flowers on new wood, can also be pruned later in the month (late winter/early spring), before the plant comes out of dormancy.
  • Plant new perennials, and lift and divide clumps of existing plants.
  • Keep your bulb garden free of weeds, and top-dress anemone and ranuculus beds with well-decayed manure.
  • Keep planting gladioli, dahlia and begonia tubers for summer flowering.
  • Sow seeds of alyssum, viola, pansy, Californian poppy, carnation, marigold, petunia, dianthus, cosmos, phlox, viscaria, verbena, nemesia, salvia, celosia, zinnia, sunflower, honesty, snapdragon and gypsophila.
  • Plant out seedlings of hollyhock, carnations, pansies, viola, polyanthus, cineraria, stock, poppy, cornflower, delphinium and all herbaceous plants.

Fruit and vegetable garden

  • Continue planting autumn-sown onions, and also seedlings of cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, broccoli, silverbeet and spinach.
  • Sow seeds in trays ready for transplanting later – cabbage, celery, spring onion, silverbeet, spinach and lettuce.
  •  Sow or plant new asparagus into prepared beds.
  • Plant out main crop of Jerusalem artichokes and also seed potatoes (or purchase for sprouting).
  • Fertilise rhubarb beds with any animal manure available – use blood and bone at 150g per plant. Lift and divide existing clumps.
  • Prune autumn-fruiting raspberries.
  • Plant new citrus, and transplant and fertilise existing trees – there’s still time to plant deciduous fruit trees.
  • Plant new strawberries, and feed liberally. Keep existing strawberries clean by hoeing – don’t go too close to the plants – and give a dressing of blood and bone.
  • Leaf curl affects peaches and nectarines in particular, and is best dealt with by a copper spray. The best time to apply this is as buds swell on peach and nectarine trees, and as blossom is about to unfold on apricots. A clean-up spray in autumn when leaves fall is also a good idea.
  • Continue to lift and divide perennial herbs, such as chives and tarragon.

Lawns

If patches of lawn need renewing, but wear and tear from children and pets, and birds stealing seeds makes re-sowing a problem, you could try growing your patches in seed trays. When the grasses have grown enough to hold the potting mix intact, roll out your patch and plant it. You’ll need to water well twice a week in dry weather until roots have grown deep into the soil.

Second thoughts

Tidy up and prepare garden beds for spring planting, and plant up your favourite new season’s flowering annuals in containers.