August Outdoor Tasks
August means metal garden furniture Sale time! And that keeps us super busy, flogging aluminium patio tables and sun loungers to those in need of a bargain. However, the days are long and there’s plenty of time to enjoy life outdoors, so check out our August To Do list here…
- Make the most of your metal garden furniture.
Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But how many of us are guilty of forgetting it’s there sometimes. Remember, the garden table is not just there for weekend barbecues. When on holiday, you wouldn’t consider eating inside a chalet or cottage when you could be outside in the morning sunshine, so why not turn your patio table into a breakfast bar? When you’ve got a pile of kids to entertain during the school holidays, serve up their bangers and mash outside. There’s no carpet to hoover afterwards and metal garden furniture is remarkably resilient on the whole – perfect to handle the hordes.
- Make the place look nice.
In the flower beds, cut alchemilla down to the ground unless (like me) you love the way it self seeds everywhere. If you do cut it back, the new growth will see you through to autumn. Cut out the old growth on rambler roses when flowering is over and thin out old growth on honeysuckle. When you are tidying the beds and deadheading, don’t be tempted to cut back the stems on lilies that have flowered. Like daffs, lilies suck back goodness from the stem into the bulb for next year.
- Enjoy the fruits of your labours.
Early apples (eg Discovery) should be picked as soon as they come away from the stem easily. Peaches may be ready to pick too – you should ripen these in a warm kitchen, don’t leave them on the tree. There’s still the chance to get in a last sewing of carrots for eating in the autumn. Pick corn cobs when the tassels on the ends begin to wither. You can tell if they are ripe if the kernels are soft enough for you to stick in a thumbnail. Pull up your onions and leave to ripen on top of the ground until the green tops have withered away.
- Look ahead.
Smug types get their forced hyacinth bulbs in now so that they’ll be ready for Christmas. Actually, the ideal thing is to do a few bowls now, and more in September, so that you can enjoy a succession of blooms. Use bulb fibre or compost and set them so that the tip or nose of the bulb peeps over the top. Water well and store in cool place (below 9 degrees) for 2-3 months. Bring the bowl into the warm when the flower buds are pushing out from the bulbs. It takes about 3 weeks from this point to full flowering. Don’t forget the bowls of bulbs look fantastic on the metal patio table too so bear this in mind when bulb shopping.