Plant flow­ers now for all-year colour


Sum­mer flow­ers are busy set­ting seed, some­times in their thou­sands, to en­sure their con­tin­ued sur­vival.

For au­tum­nal colour in the flower bed, we ought to mimic na­ture’s ex­am­ple.

One of the most loved of the self-sown flow­ers is the vi­ola, with its wide range of colour­ful blooms.

Heart­sease is one name for one va­ri­ety of this cheery lit­tle com­pan­ion which is also known as johnny jump-up, love-in-idle­ness or wild pansy. It flow­ers all through the warm months and when the weather gets cold, it does not suc­cumb to the frost.

Af­ter flow­er­ing, the plant sets seeds and new plants will con­tinue to pop up year af­ter year.

If you missed get­ting sweet peas in for sum­mer flow­er­ing, get them in while the weather is warm, for a show in late au­tumn.

These scented and beau­ti­ful flow­ers have a time­less qual­ity that sees them for­ever pop­u­lar both in the gar­den and the vase.

Corn­flow­ers and cos­mos look de­light­ful now and any you al­ready have will have seed ripe for col­lect­ing and sowing or left to fend for it­self.

In patches be­tween peren­ni­als is the place to sow an­nu­als so there is a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion of flow­er­ing times from one plant to an­other.

A bed of just one type of plant can be an all or noth­ing sit­u­a­tion, from seeds to the spent plants at the end of its sea­son, so aim to mix it up a lit­tle with var­i­ous plants poised to flower in each sea­son.

There are many other seeds to sow now for au­tumn colour and spring flow­er­ing later.

Later sow­ings of other ap­pro­pri­ate seeds will pro­duce blooms for win­ter.

Vir­ginian stock seeds sown now will flower come au­tumn and right through win­ter, as will the en­chant­ing night-scented stock.

Linaria is a sweet lit­tle filler plant na­tive to Morocco.

It also has the virtue of be­ing a quick grower, so seeds sown now will pro­duce flow­ers in a quick time and con­tinue through­out au­tumn and win­ter.

Sowing seeds in sum­mer has the dis­ad­van­tage in that they re­quire reg­u­lar wa­ter­ing, but for those who col­lect rain­wa­ter for the pur­pose and have a handy wa­ter­ing can, this is a small is­sue and worth the ef­fort.

Seeds that sit dor­mant in dry soil will sprout away when the rains come, but seedlings that have started will soon wither up and die if wa­ter is with­held.

It is false econ­omy to sow seeds, wa­ter them in, then for­get them.

Scabiosa has a pretty face, de­spite its less-than-flat­ter­ing name. and is an­other plant that will flower in late au­tumn.

It is a favourite of bees, so use­ful for boost­ing the food sup­ply as the weather cools and other food be­comes scarce.

For rock­eries, sow seeds of alyssum and plant por­tu­laca for some vi­brant colour.

There is a minia­ture aster that is suit­able for rock gar­dens and these seeds can be sown now to flower in the com­ing months.

Trees and shrubs have filled out as much as they are go­ing to this sea­son, so you might like to con­sider gaps and think about where you could plant new spec­i­mens when the au­tum­nal weather turns wet and cool.

Cut­tings taken and grown on in pots through­out sum­mer might be ready to pop in the gar­den in au­tumn, un­less you are go­ing to leave them pot­ted up through win­ter to get bet­ter es­tab­lished roots.

You can take soft wood cut­tings of many shrubs through­out sum­mer and let them grow roots over au­tumn and win­ter.

In the spaces you might have planned for these new shrubs, why not sow a few seeds for colour in the mean­time.

Pretty as a pic­ture: Vi­o­las make a pretty show around a fo­cal point such as a sculp­ture.

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