August is a sleepy month full of long, hot hazy days. The bees are working hard to build up a store of honey for the winter and kitchen gardens are full of produce for us to harvest. Many flowering plants will be setting seed now but there is still plenty of colour around.
Keep dead-heading to encourage plants to continue blooming – if you’re lucky you may continue to get flushes of colour into Autumn. If you’re garden looks a bit dull and tired, buy some autumn flowering perennials such as Echinacea or Rudbeckia and these will reward you for many years by extending the period of interest for a month or two. They are also great for wildlife.
Towards the end of the month, leave seed heads to form on sunflower and thistles. These are great food sources for finches and will look great later on in the year when covered in frost.
If temperatures aren’t too high, sow some winter lettuce and chard seeds for salad crops over the winter. It’s not too late to sow radish, turnips and carrots although they probably won’t have long enough to reach full size. However, if you love the sweetness of baby vegetables, a late sowing is well worth the effort.
If you’ve been inspired by wildflower meadows this year then now is a great time to prepare the ground for sowing. Many native wildflower species benefit from being sown in the Autumn so dig the ground now ready for sowing in September.
Herbs can be sown now if you have room to keep them on a windowsill in your kitchen. Because the weather is still warm, herbs such as basil will germinate well and provide you with summer flavours all through the winter!
Penny is the owner of SimplyGro, an eco-friendly on-line garden store, and is passionate about GYO and wildlife friendly gardening. www.simplygro.co.uk