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Gardening jobs in August: what to plant and tidy in your garden this month

The fruit garden 

It is time to cut down any raspberry canes that have already borne fruit this summer. Summer fruiting raspberries bear fruit on new growth, and so there is no purpose in keeping the old ones hanging around. Cut them down flush with the ground, and then select up to eight of the new canes that have been produced this summer, and tie them in, along horizontal wires, cutting the rest back to ground level. The chosen ones will bear fruit next summer. 


Houseplants can suffer when you are away on holiday, particularly now, during the warmest month of the year. If you are going to be away for a few days then just give them a good watering before you go, but for any longer you should move them into one place together, ideally a cool, north facing room where they will not get too much direct sunlight. Make sure each has a saucer. Grouped like this they will help to create a moist microclimate and prevent excessive evaporation. If going for more than a week you could group them together in the bath and fill it with a couple of inches of cold water. 

Flowering shrubs 

This is the month that rhododendrons and camellias begin to form the flower buds that will bloom next spring, and if it happens to coincide with a dry spell, fewer will be formed and you will have a less impressive spring display. It is worth watering them well even if there has been rain, and whether they are growing in pots or in the ground (though it is even more important in pots) as their dense growth can stop rain from easily reaching the roots. 


Take ‘semi-ripe’ cuttings of woody herbs such as rosemary, thyme, lemon verbena, lavender and sage now in order to bulk up your stock or to make gifts for friends. Cut pieces of non-flowering plant material up to 5in long, taken just below a leaf node, the point from which leaves or buds appear. Nip off the top pair of leaves, down to just above a leaf node, then strip off almost all of the lower leaves, leaving just a few leaves at the top. Make a hole in a pot of well drained compost and drop the cutting in, firming around it and watering well. Keep in a cool greenhouse or on an indoor windowsill all winter and plant out next spring.  

This article is kept updated with the latest information.

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