My gar­den­ing di­ary

Garden News (UK) - - Grasses - Carol Klein

MON­DAY

The sea­sonal task of di­vid­ing herba­ceous plants gets un­der­way, with hosta ‘Frances Wil­liams’ be­ing dug up and sliced into sev­eral big chunks with a sharp spade. If you make the pieces too small, the plant ini­tially re­verts to its ju­ve­nile state and the new leaves will be half the size next spring.

TUES­DAY

How do you treat your dahlias at this time of year? Most of ours are in pots and we’ve de­cided to keep on feed­ing them – though only once a week, with potash-rich liq­uid feed – to help them have a last flo­ral fling. We won’t carry them in­side un­til the first frost turns them black.

WED­NES­DAY

Sow­ing phacelia (green ma­nure) on the bare patches that have been cre­ated where we’ve pulled beans and sweet­corn. It should grow fast and will prob­a­bly pro­duce its pretty blue flow­ers into the win­ter. We’ll dig it in later – it’s an in­valu­able source of ni­tro­gen.

THURS­DAY

Cor­nus ‘Nor­man Had­den’ is full of fruit this year. They’re at­trac­tive, like lit­tle rasp­berry-coloured lanterns fes­tooned among the branches. At Alice’s wed­ding we’d planned to use cop­per beech as a back­ground. In the event its leaves had gone and the cor­nus stepped into the breach.

FRI­DAY

When you reach for the rake to make piles of fallen leaves, you know that au­tumn has well and truly ar­rived. As our trees get big­ger, the car­pets of orange, am­ber and rus­set at their feet get deeper and deeper. For the next few weeks, this is go­ing to be one of our main ac­tiv­i­ties.

SATUR­DAY

Salvias seem to have had a bumper year. They’re so ex­cit­ing with their rich and di­verse colour range and so var­ied in their habit, from twiggy bushes to large-leaved giants. They add enor­mous in­ter­est, es­pe­cially in the lat­ter half of the year. Cut­tings taken from sub­stan­tial stock plants will root in a mat­ter of weeks.

SUN­DAY

Mint is such a use­ful herb, not only for lovers of roast lamb! In this veg­e­tar­ian house­hold, we use it to make mint tea, add zest to hou­mous and to raita, made with yo­ghurt and the last of our cu­cum­bers. Although it can be a thump­ing nui­sance when it es­capes, it’s easy to con­tain by plant­ing it in a bucket plunged into the ground.

Left, droop­ing, rasp­berry-like cor­nus fruit. Right, hosta ‘Frances Wil­liams’

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