Autumn is the season for dramatic seedheads. If you haven’t chopped yours down yet, in an effort to be tidy, there’s every chance you’re looking at a majestic display of different seed dispersal mechanisms in all shapes and sizes. Some are feathery and wispy, producing thistledown that floats on the lightest breeze; others are more shake, rattle and pop, scattering their contents in a joyous explosion. My favourites are probably the translucent discs of honesty, Lunaria annua; after hanging them upside down to dry outdoors last year (and then forgetting about them), new plants have popped up everywhere. On page 20 this issue, Val Bourne has some good advice about keeping on top of naughty little self-seeders such as honesty and aquilegias. “It’s my 2-in-10-rule,” she says. “Keep two seedheads and cull the next eight, to prevent them running amok.” Some hardy annuals are particularly good at reproducing. Often packed with hundreds of tiny seeds, their progeny can survive winter outdoors and are ready to romp away in early spring. Fortunately most of them are a blessing rather than a curse! Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find lots of colourful ideas to keep the autumn drama unfolding. Asters, sedums and Japanese anemones are three must-haves for this time of year, and we’ve got lots of new ways to plant them. Don’t forget to share your autumn garden photos with us, see p101!
A little bit of honesty goes a long way