AUGUST brings another chapter in the garden.
Many plants run to seed during August, and you may be
tempted to cut back and tidy those plants whose flowers are
But think again. Even dying plants can give the garden
character while seeding and your garden could yield a rich
harvest of home-saved seed. Collecting seed can be great fun
especially for the young budding horticulturist. Keep an eye
on those plants that mature and shed their seed quickly.
Seed from some species including poppies, columbines and
foxgloves can be shaken straight from the capsule, while
others such as hardy geraniums, are safer if the whole stem
is removed and replaced upside down in a paper bag. Store
collected seed in old envelopes or clean paper bags,
labelling each variety immediately after collection. As for
sowing the fresher the better.
Most hardy perennials will germinate very quickly if sown
immediately after collection, either in a cold frame or in
the open ground. Don't forget to exchange seeds with your
friends and relatives. Rapidly growing hedges like privet
need several cuts per year, while others such as yew,
laurel, holly and other conifers will be happy with a single
Beech, thorn and hornbeam get by with a single cut but will
look much tidier if cut the second time, one in late June
and the second in September. The ideal shape for a hedge is
tapering, an inverted wedge just a little wider at the
bottom than at the top. This allows enough light and air to
develop a thick healthy covering of foliage. Never allow the
hedge to grow out of control. Always keep it at a manageable
height and spread. Take cuttings now of your favourite
garden shrubs. These can be cheaply and easily propagated in
a cold frame or cool glasshouse. Select your cuttings -
these should be at a semi-ripe stage. Apply a hormone
rooting powder to the prepared cuttings and stick them in
soil that has been enriched with leaf mould, compost and
grit to allow for good drainage.
Avoid disturbing them until they have rooted.
Goto top of page