The Dog Days of Summer

Posted: 4 May 2020

Author: Smith's Garden Centre

Most gardeners can be a bit obsessive about the weather. For the time and energy they put into their garden, the weather can be a bit of a concern for a gardener – hence why we’re always talking about it! However, we do live in England, and to say that it’s unpredictable at the moment is a bit of an understatement. We choose to be hopeful and positive, so let’s anticipate this August to be the hottest month of the year and we’ll see what happens!

Keep hydrated

With the heat comes a lack of water. Keep checking for signs of lack of water, for example dry to the touch or paler compost in your pots, containers and hanging baskets. Check your garden by inspecting the soil at a spade’s depth – if it’s dry then you may need to water plants that need it. Established trees and shrubs are not likely to need watering, but if there has been a lengthy period without any rainfall combined with long sunny days, you may want to consider watering. And make sure those pesky weeds aren’t stealing valuable moisture away from your plants by removing as many as you can.

Wisteria here, wisteria there, wisteria everywhere!

Just like the Scarlet Pimpernel, wisteria does have a tendency to get about a bit! Wisteria needs regular pruning to keep it in control, and August is a great time to do that. It will also flower more regularly if pruned, so it’s worth making the effort to cut back recent growth after flowering to keep it within boundaries. Lavender can also benefit from some light pruning after its flowers have finished.

Keep on the lawn

You shouldn’t need to water the lawn, just adjust your mowing routine to match the weather. In long periods of dry weather, mow more frequently but set the blades to a high level so you’re only taking a tiny bit off the top. Leave the grass collector off the mower, and let the clippings lie on the lawn to act as a moisture mulch. 

It’s time to start thinking about Christmas

Sorry… but it is. If you want indoor blooms in December, for example freesias and hyacinths, then now’s the time to plant them into bowls and start their growth. That’s enough about Christmas for now…!

Don’t stop deadheading

It’s the best way to encourage many shrubs to keep flowering, and it keeps the overall look of the garden neat and tidy. Whilst you’re deadheading, collect and store seeds of annuals and perennials so you can sow them later on. (Don’t forget to write on the container what seeds are inside!)

Get rid of moss and algae as this will help stop your surfaces becoming slippery later in the year. Paint and preserve your wooden furniture, sheds, fences etc. 

Reap the harvest

Harvest and eat the fruits (or vegetables) of your labours, and if you find you have too much see if there’s an allotment nearby where you can donate/swap with others. Store, freeze or batch cook what you can – it tastes so much better when it’s produce you’ve grown.

Enjoy those ‘dog days’ when you can – days where it’s very warm, and all you want to do is laze around snoozing in the sun…as our favourite four-legged friends often do!

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