Woman’s Weekly Gardening editor Geoff Palmer shares some horticultural secrets from the new Autumn issue, on sale until the 24th September.
Container of the month
Here’s a pretty combination of plants for mid autumn. The sedum ‘Bertram Anderson’ has a neat habit and becomes loaded with rosy flowers against purple-blue rounded foliage in late summer, making it ideal for edging a container. The erupting colchicums and autumn crocus in the centre give a sparkling display, the bare stems hidden by supporting plants. You may find pots of colchicums for sale to plunge into containers.
Next to the bulbs, the deliciously named ‘Sorbet Orange Duet’ viola has two-tone flowers to make a powerful contrast, and will reliably show their faces when it’s cold but plant as early as possible to allow the roots to get down into the compost for the best early autumn show. Ensure to keep them deadheaded; as soon as violas start to set seed they quickly get leggy.
Beat Vine Weevil
Vine weevil damage a wide range of plants, especially in containers. The creamy white legless grubs with brown heads live in the compost, feeding on roots during autumn and winter and do the most damage, causing plants to wilt or even die. Adult weevils feed on the foliage of many plants eating irregular-shaped notches in leaf margins during the summer months.
So use a biological control nematode this month, when the soil temperature is warm enough for it to be effective. Nematodes work best in potting composts but not in open ground and are safe for edible and ornamental plants.
Alternatively, use a proprietary liquid insecticide drench to compost in pots giving protection for up to four months. They cannot be used on edible plants or ornamentals in the ground.
Propagate fuchsias, osteospermums, petunias, penstemons, pelargoniums, tender salvias and argyranthemums (marguerites), in case the parent plant fails to overwinter
1/ Choose healthy non- flowering shoots to ensure cuttings quickly form roots
2/ Remove the lower leaves and trim stem just below where a pair of leaves joined the stem using a sharp knife
3/ Place 7.5cm (3in) cuttings around the edge of a pot filled with gritty seed and cuttings compost
4/ Place in a propagator or plastic bag and place in cool greenhouse or windowsill. Pot on when rooted, cuttings need light and good air circulation. Harden off before planting out in spring.
Don’t miss the new issue!
For loads more gardening tips, and to find out what AGM plants our RHS expert would choose, how to make a parterre, which apple trees NOT to plant…plus much more, buy the latest issue of Woman’s Weekly Gardening, on sale until 24th September. Don’t miss it!