August is wake up month.
The garden awakes from its winter sleep and I awake to how much there is to do before plants jump into life.
The wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) I wrote about last week flowers on growth made the previous summer so if it needs pruning, do it immediately after the sweet-smelling flowers finish.
Remove older, thick grey stems and any dead twigs to allow space for new shoots.
Leave unbranched, pale brown shoots to carry next year's flowers.
Wintersweet doesn't need much pruning and it's a useful background shrub as it's only interesting in winter when its scent wafts for metres.
It's easily propagated from seed which ripens during summer.
Evergreen potato vines (Solanum sp.) need heavy pruning in August or they'll take over.
I'm ruthless with mine, cutting it almost to the base.
It gives a gasp and takes a few weeks to recover but then flowers reliably all summer and is fantastic for decorating lattice or hiding a shed.
Evergreen abelia (A. x grandiflora) and eleagnus (E. x ebbingei) can be trimmed now; both make beautiful formal hedges and clipping doesn't affect their scented flowers.
August is the month for lifting and replanting snowdrops (Galanthus sp.) when flowers finish; never let bulbs dry out or they'll die.
This month is the last chance to divide and replant any perennials that you've been telling yourself to do since last summer.
I've been intending to divide a lovely creamy achillea, A. credo, for years, as it was too tall for its front row spot.
So after writing the above sentence I went out and did it.
This left me with frosty fingers and in dire need of hot coffee, but a huge sense of relief.
I split it into three and planted the clumps further back among a dark purple Salvia nemorosa, hoping they'll flower together.
I'll sow some nasturtiums to fill the gap: a gardener's day is never done.
Digging out compost is a great job for a frosty morning and it's easy to spread while the ground is bare.
Compost is the best fertiliser ever, it adds vital humus to the soil, worms love it and it makes a great mulch.
Any left over, half rotted waste can be turned over to start a new heap, with the help of a cowpat or two. (More on compost next week.)
August is a good month for planning spring seed sowing.
I know I've said this before but try to remember that sowing is the easy part, it's the pricking out, potting up and planting - not to mention weeding, watering and fertilising - that are fiddly and time consuming.
Having said that, all gardeners love to get ahead.
Cool climate vegie growers can sow parsley, squash, onions, leeks and lettuce in seed trays under cover now, to plant out in four to six weeks depending on late frost.
Fiona and Bill's garden will open for Bathurst Spring Spectacular on October 28 and 29.
The Bathurst Spring Spectacular is an annual event held on the last weekend of October of each year.
The event in 2022 was a great success with $20,000 being donated to local charities.
It was also awarded Bathurst Regional Council's Destination Event of the Year.