Five Garden Jobs for August

If you’re lucky, all the dry weather hasn’t affected your garden too badly and your beds and borders are still looking green and flowery.  August tends to be the tipping point in the gardening year, as the bright colours of summer begin to give way to the faded glories of early autumn. As we’ve said before, keeping up with the deadheading and the watering will help keep things looking good for as long as possible.  Otherwise, August’s jobs are not usually too strenuous; here are our suggestions.

Collect Seeds

sunflower seedsLeaving some flowers to go to seed is a great way get a head start on next year. On a dry day, collect the seeds and store them in a clearly labelled envelope or paper bag (not plastic as they can sweat and go mouldy). Place in an airtight container ready to sow in the spring.

This method should work for anything that produces seed: flower, fruit or vegetable.  However, be aware that a hybrid plant may not come true from its seeds; that is, the new plant may not have exactly the same characteristics as the parent plant.  It’s still worth a try, however, as you never know what you might get!

Plants like poppy, sweet pea, borage, love-in-a-mist (Nigella) and aquilegia all generally grow very well from collected seeds, although aquilegia tend to spread themselves around so well anyway you may not feel the need to. 

Find our seed sowing calendars and general tips on sowing seeds here


If you are a vegetable grower, August will probably be the time that much of your harvest can be gathered in. Onions, shallots and garlic may all be ready now; you can harvest them as soon as their tops turn brown, then leave them to dry in the sun before storing them.  Likewise, if you’ve grown your own sweetcorn, harvest it when the silks turn brown (and serve fresh from the garden with lashings of butter!).  Harvesting chillies, courgettes and cucumbers regularly will encourage more to form; new veg should still have time to ripen before the cooler weather kicks in.

To encourage tomatoes to ripen, you can remove quite a lot of the leaves to allow more light in.  It’s worth pinching out the tops of tomatoes now, so the plant concentrates energy on growing and ripening the fruits that have already formed rather than on producing new flowers, which probably won’t have time to turn into fruits.

If you have autumn fruiting berries, consider protecting them from hungry birds with some carefully secured netting.  While you’re harvesting, consider collecting bunches of freeze herbs to store for the winter.  Either dry them out and store in jars or chop finely and freeze in ice cubes trays with a little olive oil.

If you’re lucky enough to have hazelnuts (or cob nuts, cultivated hazelnuts) you might like this Hazelnut Butter Recipe from the Woodland Trust: Hazelnuts: Where and When to Forage – Woodland Trust



Other than your regular deadheading, some plants will benefit from a more serious ‘chop’ now that they have finished flowering.  Lavender flowers are over now so you can trim the stems back to keep its compact shape.  Whilst leggy, woody lavender can look quite ungainly, cutting back into woody stems won’t actually help as the plant won’t grow from those old stems.

Rambling roses and wisteria can be pruned back quite hard now. For ramblers, remove up to a third of the stems that have already flowered, shorten others if you wish and tie them to supports.  Wisteria sideshoots can be reduced to about 20cm (8.5 inches) and, again, tied in if you’re using supports.

You may spot ‘suckers’, new shoots growing from the base of trees or roses.  Remove these at the trunk; not only can they sap the energy from the rest of the plant, but if your plant has been grafted, they may be growing straight from the root stock, and so not be variety you expect.

Sow and plant

There is still some planting that can be done at this time of year, although you will probably want to be diligent in your watering if this dry weather continues.  If your strawberries have produced runners, peg them into the soil so they produce roots, then you can detach them from the mother plant and pot up anew.   If you like fruit, now is a good time to plant a kiwi, perhaps to scramble over a trellis, or blueberry bushes (which prefer acid or ericaceous soil).

You can also sow seeds this late in the year: hardy annuals sown in a sunny spot will provide early colour next summer, while crops like rocket or land cress can offer harvests through the winter.  And, if you have any soil that will be bare for a while, consider sowing a green manure to put some nutrients back while you aren’t using the space.

Holiday preparation

Many of us take time off in August to enjoy a holiday but a bit of preparation before you go can help ensure you still have a garden and house plants when you come back.  Unless you have a really dedicated neighbour, an automatic watering system for pots and hanging baskets can be a real boon.  Otherwise, sitting plants in buckets or saucers to collect water will help.  Indoors or in the greenhouse, you could set up capillary matting; one end of the matting sits in a bucket or large bowl of water and you sit your plants on the matting so they can absorb the water.

It’s also a good idea to move houseplants and greenhouse plants somewhere shadier so that they won’t scorch while you are away.  If you have a conservatory, for example, consider moving all the out to somewhere that gets less sun.  If you do have someone coming in to water your houseplants, it’s a good idea to move them all to one spot (the dining table on a waterproof cloth, perhaps, or even into the bath) so that none get missed and any spills won’t damage the woodwork.

Further advice on caring for your garden while you’re away is here, and find our tips on planning a drought tolerant garden here.




N. Haggard 20 September 2022

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how delighted I am with my new garden.

Jon, my designer, listened to my ideas and delivered on everything I asked for. I wanted something different to any garden I’d had before, no lawn, no landscaping but packed with plants. He designed such a lovely secret garden, around a statement tree. And I have to commend him for his unwavering patience! I changed my mind a hundred times but never did he give me the impression that he was losing patience with my endless indecision. And my confidence in him led me to place an order for over £10k.

My landscaping team, Blade and Tony, were exceptional, from their work ethic, skill and knowledge, to the way they dealt with me, the customer. My standards are very high and I couldn’t fault them.

All in all, a very professional team of people. And it showed that they all care. I’m over the moon with the finished result. I will send you a before and after photo. Thank you so much.

A delighted customer.

G. Gray. May 2022

My front garden has been transformed by Andy and Bradley who both worked incredibly hard and I am delighted with the result. Andy had the vision and skill to turn my idea into reality and I can't thank him enough.

C. Haig Sept 2021

We recently had our garden landscaped by Hambrooks and I just wanted to pass on my thanks, not just for the outcome - which is superb - but for the professionalism of all the staff involved on the job who are all a credit to you company. Mike, Dave, Les and Adam.

H. Sharp Sept 2021

I just wanted to let you know how delighted I am with my new garden. Melanie was a delight to work with and the ideas she had have worked perfectly. Also Sheldon laid the patio beautifully and him and Dave were a pleaseure to have at my house. Quiet workers and polite.

B. Rendell April 2021

I would like to say how delighted we are with the work carried out. Mel, Paul and Tony all worked very hard, they totally took on board the specific need relating to safety as well as the general garden issues. Paul and Tony were excellent at consulting and discussing with me what I felt best in terms of the brief and adjusting if and as necessary, constantly pleasant and polite to deal with. Mel had picked up on particular issues from the first consultation and offered valuable advice. The outcome means a great deal less worry for me going forward.
Altogether a very positive experience and outcome which I would not hesitate to recommend to others.

Stephen March 2021

Dom and Adam's work (garden maintenance) is greatly appreciated. Dom really listened to everything we discussed very carefully and went out of his way to understand and then act upon that discussion. We are extremely pleased with the work done - both to the pond and pyracantha.


We have been coming to Hambrooks for years and it's our favourite garden centre because of its friendly helpful staff and a great selection of plants and trees and the garden design ideas.

“We wanted to write and say how pleased we are with our low maintenance garden makeover. We are very impressed with the attitude of your staff who were prepared to listen to our requirements. Your team John and Rick brushed up and left everything tidy at the end of the day. We now have a garden we can manage and it looks great. THANK YOU HAMBROOKS.”

Mr & Mrs Venables, Southampton. April 2019

“Dear Josh & Mike We just want to say you both did a brilliant job of designing our garden along with the guys who did the work who were amazing. A few weeks on its looks even better now some of the plants are blooming. Thank you!!”

Mr & Mrs Gazzard, Winchester July 2019

“To James, John & Rikki. Thank you so much, we are delighted with our new garden. We really appreciate the attention to detail, the high quality workmanship and the standard of the finished project. We are amazed at how John & Rikki resolved the difficulties of the site and by the quality of their craftmanship. It was a pleasure to work with them and thank you for making our ideas into something we will enjoy for years to come.”