One of the main jobs at this time of year is watering, use as much ‘grey’ water as possible. Throw the washing up water under a shrub! A thorough soaking every few days is better than a sprinkle every day and water preferably in the evening when it is cooler. Add tomato feed to the water once a week to encourage more flowers. If you are going on holiday, ask a neighbour to water for you. If you move all tubs and baskets into a shady corner together it will make it easier for them. If baskets or tubs dry out completely, stand them in a bucket or bowl of water overnight until they become thoroughly wet again. Deadhead regularly or plants will stop producing more flowers. Prune rambling and climbing roses unless they are repeat flowering or produce attractive hips. If the leaves have black spot it is too late to spray them now but make sure you pick up any leaves that drop because the disease will re-emerge next year from spores on the leaves. Cuttings can be taken from tender geraniums, pelargoniums, now. Take non-flowering shoots and cut them just below a leaf node. Fill a pot with a mix of compost and sand and put the cuttings around the edge. Don’t cover them, keep them watered and they will root quickly.
Prune wisteria and pyracantha after flowering, but if the pyracantha has lots of berries forming, leave it until later in the year if possible as the birds love them. Camellias and Rhododendrons need regular watering at this time or the new buds won’t form or will drop off leaving the plants without flower next spring. You could get new plants from rhododendrons by layering low hanging branches. Make a small trench and bury the stem pinning it down if necessary with a stone or wire. Keep them moist and when it shows signs of new growth. (This will take a while), sever the new plant from the original and plant in a pot and grow it on until big enough to plant in the garden. If it has been hot the water levels in ponds can drop so keep it topped up, preferably with rainwater as otherwise the water may turn a bit green.
If you are growing soft fruit, keep them harvested now. Once summer raspberries have finished fruiting, cut the canes down to the ground. Keep the autumn varieties tied in and they will soon be ripening as well. Strawberries will have produced runners by now. If they havn’t already rooted themselves, pop them into a pot of compost ant water well. Once rooted they can replace old plants or fill gaps. Thin vegetables like radish, beetroot and carrots but make sure you keep the tops covered with soil especially the carrots as otherwise carrot root fly will get into them and the tops will go green. Pick courgettes regularly and don’t forget that many plants like these, tomatoes and cucumbers are mostly water so need lots of it. Pinch out the growing tip of tomatoes now to encourage the fruit to ripen.
Lastly, make sure you keep water out for the birds and then sit down and think about ordering spring bulbs. Soon be time to plant them!