The garden takes on a sleepy quality this month. The colours are a little more subdued and the air is full of bees and butterflies. This is certainly the month when gardeners can afford to relax a little and not only enjoy their own gardens but also those of others.

Many local areas have their open garden days in August. If there is an event like this near you it’s well worth a visit, you can learn an awful lot just by looking at other peoples gardens.

August is also the time when many gardeners are away on holiday. If possible ask a neighbour or friend to keep an eye on your garden while you are away. Ask them to pay particular attention to baskets and containers, miss just one watering on a scorching hot August day and you could loose several plants.

VEGETABLES – Pinch out the growing tips of outdoor tomatoes early this month. Sow spring cabbage. Plant out spring cabbage if ready. Lift onions. Sow late crops of lettuce. Water and hoe as necessary.

FRUIT – Plant out strawberries. Summer prune cordon apples and pears. Summer prune soft fruit. Cut back briar canes that have finished fruiting.

FLOWERS – Continue to water and feed hanging baskets and containers. Dead head regularly. Move or divide irises. Sow hardy annuals for early flowering next year. Plant herbaceous plants where required.

GREENHOUSE – Pinch out the growing tips of tomatoes in the greenhouse late this month. Water and feed regularly. Keep well ventilated.

LAWNS – Mow regularly, but not closely or too frequently in dry weather. Feed lawns and apply weed killers.

TREE & SHRUBS – Cut hedges as necessary. Take cuttings. Trim topiary as necessary.

GENERAL – Hoe and weed regularly. Water if dry.