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Believe it or not this is the month to start thinking about the winter. When I say this, I am mainly talking about the winter bedding, because now is the time to order and perhaps sow the seeds.

Pansies can be sown now to grow on and plant in mid to late September, this will help them get established into the ground before the nasty winter weather comes. Although winter bedding will tolerate the winter weather, it won’t particularly grow very much during this dreary season. So get your plants growing early to get a better size.

This is particularly the case for the winter pots and hanging basket displays. For your summer displays you plant them and watch them grow, winter is different, not as much growth. So what they look like in September/ October, is what they will look like for most of the winter. Even in the case of the decorative Ivys, grow them now to make them look better for the winter.

Anyway, here’s another list of jobs for the month.
Watering – this has got to be mentioned at this time of the year. August can be the hottest month of the year. I hope you have a water butt, as this will lower your watering costs. Remember you can use your washing up water. Dish washer water and clothes washing, I wouldn’t advise as there could be detrimental salts within. Bath water is fine, mind you looking into my bath when I get out, I’m not too sure.

The lawn – with the children on holiday, you may be using the garden more. We have a slide in our garden for the boys, which will move from spot to spot. If we don’t boys scuff the grass where they land. We also have a paddling pool which we move around also because if in one spot for too long it will kill the grass underneath. Irrigate the lawn during dry spells if you have the ability. If you don’t, don’t worry too much, grass will shut down in dry spells and even though it might go brown, it will recover when the moisture returns.

Pests and disease- plants in my garden are certainly looking tasty to the aphids and caterpillars this year. Keep a lookout for pests and nip them in the bud, before they do a lot of damage. You’ll be amazed what damage can be done in very little time.

Seeds – seeds can be collected from your garden plants at this time of year. This is a great way of getting plants for free. Lots can be sown more or less straight away and grow in a cold frame to plant in the spring/ autumn next year. Look at what plants you have in your garden and read up. Just one note, plants from your garden seed will not be F1 hybrid, that’s to say they don’t always look or flower exactly the same as the parent plant. But plants for free has got to be a winner.

Cuttings- now is the time for semi-ripe cutting, another good way of getting plants for free. Root them, over winter in the cold frame and if big enough, plant in late spring. Personally I grow a lot of my semi-ripe cuttings in pots until the following early autumn.
Compost- keep turning that heap, you will need that lovely organic matter before long.
Pruning – you can prune things at this time of year. Early August is now an advised time to prune fruit trees such as cherries. This is to avoid the spread of fungal and bacterial problems. Don’t prune these plants in the rain.

I say this a lot, but finally enjoy the garden. you’ve worked hard throughout the year, so make some time to enjoy the fruits of your labour.