Spruce up your gar­den

Is your gar­den look­ing a lit­tle strag­gly? Gar­den­ing ex­pert Lucy Hewett looks at a few ways to perk up your plot.

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - East Kent Property - - OUTDOORS -

Things in the gar­den can start to look a lit­tle shabby and fraz­zled as sum­mer draws to a close. If you feel your gar­den is past its best there are few things you can do to give it a boost.

Cut back as­tran­tia, pul­monaria and hardy gera­ni­ums, which can get a bit strag­gly. By giv­ing them a good cut back and a wa­ter you will en­cour­age fresh new fo­liage, make things look a lot ti­dier and per­haps even be re­warded with a late flush of flow­ers.

I know I’ve said it be­fore but if you keep dead­head­ing roses, dahlias and other sum­mer peren­ni­als, more buds will come and you will have con­tin­ued flow­er­ing right up to the first frosts.

If your con­tain­ers are packed solid, they will need ex­tra wa­ter­ing, so clear out any­thing that has had its day and re­place with some fuch­sias, pelargo­ni­ums or au­tumn pan­sies with a touch of new com­post and wa­ter-re­tain­ing gel to perk things up

Where early sum­mer bulbs such as ori­en­tal pop­pies have died down in flower beds, you can fill gaps with pots filled with dahlias or fuch­sias or lilies for in­stant im­pact.

If you feel au­tumn ap­peal is lack­ing in your borders, how about in­vest­ing in a physalis alkekengi Franchetii which has or­ange lan­terns that also look good dried for flo­ral dec­o­ra­tions.

Michael­mas daisy Monch a very long flow­er­ing aster has good fo­liage and large vi­o­let-blue dai­sy­like flow­ers on stems reach­ing 90cm.

Rud­beckia, or black-eyed Su­san has golden yel­low daisy flow­ers with dark cen­tres and bristly stems.

Se­dum spectabile Au­tumn Joy flow­ers from Au­gust to Novem­ber, start­ing in pink and ma­tur­ing to cop­per. This is a must have and teams well with grasses.

And don’t for­get the Ja­panese anemone with ei­ther white or pink saucer shaped five-petalled flow­ers and con­trast­ing yel­low sta­mens.

Grasses look great in the au­tumn sun, try Pen­nise­tum ori­en­tale, reach­ing 60cm in height it has arch­ing stems with soft bot­tle brush tops.

. If you have a green­house, grow­ing your own spuds in pots for Christ­mas is pretty easy, but you need to start now. Use a con­tainer at least 30cm deep and wide with drainage holes in the base.

Add a layer of pot­ting com­post mixed with gar­den com­post around 10cm thick for 30cm deep pots and plant one to three tu­bers per pot, each with around 30cm of space. Cover them with 15cm of com­post.

As the fo­liage de­vel­ops, earth up the pota­toes with fur­ther com­post un­til the pot is full to within 5cm of the top, leav­ing a lip to aid wa­ter­ing. Keep the pot well wa­tered and feed with a gen­eral pur­pose liq­uid feed.

Keep the green­house frost-free as the sea­son de­vel­ops.

The tu­bers can be left in the pots un­til needed dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son.

Au­tumn colour with black-eyed Su­san, left, and Ja­panese anemones

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