After months of sowing, planting and carefully tending to the garden, it’s easy to feel a bit worn out by the time August arrives. Many gardeners are perhaps busy with the thought of harvesting crops and enjoying the odd barbeque. You certainly might be a bit too preoccupied to be thinking about growing even more stuff!
However, a little extra effort made before the end of summer can go a long way. It’s a commonly missed opportunity to extend the growing season into the autumn and lay foundations for next year – if you can bear to think that far ahead yet! Let’s take a look at some great things to plant in August.
Extend the Growing Season with Fast-Cropping Salads and Greens
If you’re quick, then there’s still time to get some vegetables from seed to crop before winter kicks in. Some varieties of leafy greens like spinach and rocket are fast to germinate and you could be enjoying some homegrown salad before the growing season ends. Some types of radishes and even fast-maturing carrots could also be ready in time for an autumn harvest.
Otherwise, think about planting some winter-hardy vegetables that can be harvested throughout autumn and into the winter, like kale, chard, and cabbage.
Finally, you might look ahead to early crops next spring. Some hardy spring onions would be a good bet and If you have any young strawberry plants, you could also get them in a position now, in preparation for a good crop next year.
Get Ahead with Hardy Annuals
The common thinking around annual plants and flowers is that the entire growing cycle needs to be completed within a single growing season. However, by sowing some hardy annuals now, you can get a head start on the growing process, provided you choose varieties that can withstand the winter months. This can ensure that your favourite blooms will be thriving front and centre come springtime.
Hardy annuals to consider planting now include:
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Also known as pot marigold, this is a bright and cheerful annual flower that can be grown easily from seed. It blooms throughout the summer months and into early autumn, adding a splash of colour to any garden. The petals can be used in salads or tea, and are also said to have medicinal properties.
There are many different types of poppies, and they come in a variety of colours including red, orange, yellow, white, and blue. They are a popular flower for gardens and can be grown from seed fairly easily.
Cosmos flowers are a type of wildflower that look a bit like large daisies. They are a popular choice for many gardens because they are easy to grow and come in a variety of colours.
Cornflowers are another type of wildflower that can be found in many parts of the world. Traditionally they tend to be moderately tall and have a very striking blue colour, but other colours are available.
Most commonly seen in vivid orange colour, but other types are available. Californian poppies will bring a classic splash of colour in the summertime.
Larkspur flowers have a very distinctive and attractive appearance, with long spires of brightly coloured petals. They come in many different colours, including blue, pink, and purple.
Sow Seeds for Biennial Flowers Next Year
Several times I’ve bought biennial seeds by accident – getting carried away and having not checked the packet properly. Have you ever done the same? The thing about Biennials is that they take two years to complete their life cycle. So, in the first year, they put down roots and produce leaves, and it’s not until the second year that they actually flower. Then after setting the seed, they die away and the process repeats.
If you’re as impatient as me, then you may well have thrown the packet back in a drawer somewhere and focused on another more immediate option. Well, now is the time to retrieve all those biennials you’ve been meaning to do something with and get them planted. August might be the last chance while there’s still enough warmth and sunshine to get some biennials established. So, time to clear out the seed drawer and get the odds and ends started for an abundance of flowers next year.
Here are a few biennials to consider planting:
Hollyhocks are a type of biennial flower that can be found in many different parts of the world. They are known for their large, showy flowers, which can come in a variety of different colours.
Sweet William flowers are usually a deep pink or purple colour and have a very distinctive appearance, sometimes with white edges, and they’re great for attracting bees and other pollinators.
Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) are often found in the wild amongst woodland and other shady areas. They can grow quite tall so also go well towards the back of a border and are well-known for their delicate, tubular pendant flowers.
Wallflowers are great for bedding and will often produce flowers from spring right the way through until the end of summer. While most are biennials, there are also annual and perenial varieties.
Pansies can provide a welcome splash of winter colour to your garden when other plants are dormant. Some pansies also have edible flowers. People can even crystallize these flowers and use them as cake decorations.
Perennials to plant in August
And finally, it’s worth mentioning that August is a good month to be planting certain perennials too. Perennials are plants that live for more than two years and will often flower year after year with very little maintenance needed. They can make a great addition to any garden and will provide you with years of enjoyment. You could try planting:
These majestic plants grow in tall spires of coloured flowers – ideal along the back of borders. You can sow seeds now for flowers next year, but keep them in a greenhouse or cold frame through the winter.
These warm and cheerful plants show an abundance of flowers well into autumn and can often look a bit like miniature sunflowers.
These striking flowers have made a huge come-back in recent years and it’s easy to see why. There’s a stunning range of shapes and colours to choose from and Dahlias are often at their best in late summer through into the autumn.
Sometimes known as ‘ornamental sage’, these are a great choice to add some colour right through until the first frosts. They’re also rich in nectar, so great for attracting butterflies, bees and other pollinators.
So, there you have it, a few ideas of what to plant in the garden in August. If you’re looking for something to brighten up your outdoor space and provide you with some flowers next year, then sowing hardy annuals or biennials could be a great option. If you want to add some colour to your garden that will last for years to come, then planting some perennials might be the way to go. Otherwise, there’s still time to make the most of fresh crops this year with some fast-growing salad or winter veggies.
Whatever you decide, August is a great time to get out and keep planting!
What will you be planting in August? Do you have any good ideas for us all to try? Please let us know in the comments below!