August is a good month for taking semi-ripe cuttings of shrubs. Use this season's new growth for cutting material, which should be soft and green at the growing tip, but slightly tougher and brownish-green or brown at the base.
Cuttings to take now include hydrangea, evergreen ceanothus, cornus, buddleia, philadelphus, deutzia and berberis. Pot them up individually to avoid root disturbance later. Keep the pots outdoors in a lightly shaded cold frame and remember to water the compost from time to time. Late next spring you should be able to plant them out where they are to grow.
Also try taking camellia cuttings now. They may be slow to root, but are not difficult. Select semi ripe shoots, about 10 cm (4 in) long, each with three or four leaves. Carefully remove the bottom leaves and cut the upper leaves in half crossways-it looks odd but reduces transpiration. Insert the almost leafless stems into a mixture of half-peat, half-sand, so that half the stem is buried. A bit of bottom heat helps, but is not absolutely necessary, and a cold frame will give you rooted cuttings, but takes longer to do so.
Check any soft cuttings you may have taken last month. Any flowers should be nipped off. Plants showing signs of new leafy growth should be checked for rooting by gently tugging at the base, if they have rooted, pot them up individually. As the cuttings are now in a position to absorb nutrients, pot them up with a reasonably rich compost. Once potted up, keep them watered, and out of direct sunlight for a few days.
Hydrangeas that have almost finished flowering can be deadheaded now. Cut back the flower stem to a healthy bud, and remove any weak or crowded stems.
Deadhead buddleia flowers that are going over to keep the bush looking tidy.
Lavender may also need deadheading. Collect the flower heads for making potpourri.
Continue deadheading roses to prolong the flowering season. Also continue spraying against black spot and mildew, if necessary.
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Deciduous trees and shrubs in flower:
Buddleia (many cultivars)
Fuchsia (many cultivars)
Spartium junceum (broom)
Evergreen trees and shrubs in flower:
Calluna & Erica (heather)
Cistus (rock rose)
Phlomis fruticosa (Jerusalem sage)
Lathyrus latifolius (perennial pea)
Passiflora (passion flower)