It's time to ease yourself out of the deckchair and put on your gardening gloves because autumn is almost upon us, and with it, a plethora of tasks to wake you from your summer slumber.
There's a host of jobs to do to get ahead this autumn, so make the most of the last warm days by perking up your plants, then enjoy the season change as the leaves turn from green to brilliant shades of warm yellow, burnt orange and burgundy.
Here's just a few of the tasks you could be doing to get a head start:
Boost your lawn
If you have bare patches, mow the lawn, rake the surface to remove debris then spread seed over the sparse areas, sweeping it into the surface, before covering it with a fine layer of compost and watering it in.
Best of the bunch - Rudbeckia
Summer may be almost over, but zingy rudbeckias keep flower borders bright, with their daisy-like flowers and chocolate brown centres, blending beautifully as the colours in the garden change.
These eye-catching, robust perennials are known as coneflowers because their petals hang down, making the dark central cone extremely prominent. They can grow from 60cm (24in) to 180cm (72in) tall, so there is one for every situation, but taller varieties may need staking. They are easy to grow, thriving almost anywhere in full sun and a reasonably fertile, moist soil.
Some will also do well in partial shade. Smaller types such as R. fulgida deamii are ideal used in fiery displays with crocosmias and red-hot pokers, while larger types such as R. 'Herbstsonne' do well at the back of a border and act as a foil for wall-trained late-flowering clematis.
Other good varieties include R. fulgida sullivantii 'Goldsturm', which has so many flowers it has almost a solid effect, and R. fulgida speciosa. Many flower right through to October and once flowering is over, cut the plants down to ground level in late autumn.
Good enough to eat - Growing lemons
The sight of lemon groves in warm Mediterranean countries could leave British gardeners green with envy, but it is possible to grow your own lemon trees in pots on a sunny patio, as long as you keep them in a conservatory in winter.
You can buy these evergreens for growing in pots at any time of year. Don't be in a hurry to repot plants as they like to be slightly pot-bound and don't expose them to any dramatic change in conditions because they sensitive.
The watering regime is important. Do not water them little and often. They need a good soaking when the compost is almost dry and that watering regime needs to be repeated each time it reaches that stage. Try to water them with rain water or filtered water, as lemons don't like the lime in tap water.
While they are growing they need feeding regularly with a citrus feed available in garden centres.
When you take them in over the cooler months, they will still need good light, ideally in a conservatory, and are unlikely to survive in temperatures below 7C (45F). They will need some humidity and also ventilation, so if it's not too cold, open the windows.
When the weather warms up in June, put them outside on a sheltered patio where they can enjoy summer rain and some sun.
Plants should be repotted only when the pot is really crammed with roots, using citrus compost or John Innes no 2 with about a quarter of lime-free potting grit. Good varieties include 'Meyer's Lemon', a reliable type which has some tolerance to cold and can flower all year round, and 'Lemonade', a compact type which produces medium-sized fruit.
Anyone sowing seeds in autumn should look out for Seed Pantry's newly-launched practical kits to grow organic vegetables.
The Autumn Veg Seeds Starter Pack contains seeds and eco-friendly equipment to grow pak choi, chard, Oriental spicy leaves and winter hardy salad onions, plus dibblets, mini compost disks and labels. Priced at £26, they are available from www.seedpantry.co.uk.
Two other kits, The Autumn Veg Taster Pack (£12.95) and The Autumn Veg Seeds Kit (£5.75), also feature in the range. Seeds in all three kits grow well outside in sheltered positions and can be planted from August through to October for best results.
What to do this week
Give potatoes a boost by dusting fertiliser between the rows and hoeing in.
Pick over bedding dahlias to remove any seedheads.
Support fruit tree branches as fruit ripens.
Earth up French beans to the bottom leaves and feed weekly with liquid manure until the crop is finished.
Remove old flowerheads of herbaceous plants which have finished and trim back as needed, to tidy.
Plant dwarf bulbous irises for winter colour.
Peg down non-flowering shoots of carnations into the soil to root.
Pick dried flowerheads and seedheads from poppies, nigella and eryngiums. Hang upside down in bunches in a dry, airy room.
Once plums have been picked, prune back side shoots to three leaves and cut out dead wood.
Sow cyclamen seed to raise indoor flowering pot plants.
In cold areas, sow hardy annuals to be overwintered outdoors and protect them in the winter with horticultural fleece.
Give outdoor tomatoes a light dressing of sulphate of potash to encourage ripening.
Plant daffodils unless you are planting them in beds which cannot be cleared of summer annuals until September.