BRIAN KIDD: Indian summer? Plant a wigwam

Perfect for unsightly gaps in the border - a wigwam of runner beans

Perfect for unsightly gaps in the border - a wigwam of runner beans

Gardening: 5 of the best greenhouses

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A tremendous amount of time has been taken up with watering. At the allotment I store more than 800 gallons of rain water in butts connected by hosepipe, so the one nearest the path can be used for dipping in the cans. As the water level goes down, the dipping bin fills up again.

Sadly the rainwater has gone which is a pity because peas respond well to it.

At home, the lawns are brilliantly green because they comprise 60 per cent white clover and 40 per cent grass. This is down to Mother Nature but few people see the clover as the lawn is cut regularly by Pam before the clover flowers are visible.

Plants in the herbaceous border are looking good with cosmos and dahlias filling any gaps.

The dead flowers have been taken off the astilbe and the brown leaves and dead flowers removed from the hostas. The foliage on both is attractive without the flowers. This transformed the area at the centre of the garden where the now dried-up stream runs.

The phlox are beautiful this year and will be sprayed with Fungus Fighter to stop the leaves turning white thanks to powdery mildew which attacks them at this time of year.

Lots of herbaceous plants will flower again if the dead flowers are removed. This is particularly true for gaillardia, penstemon, delphinium, erigeron and, importantly, dahlias.

If there’s a space at the back of your flower border it’s not too late to sow a wigwam of runner beans. They grow quickly and look beautiful.

When judging this year’s Bloomin’ Marvellous garden competition for The News I was impressed by runner beans in nearly every garden.

Children are on holiday and nearly all enjoy the garden. Teach them how to find seeds on flowering plants.

Put a sheet of newspaper in a seed tray with stones to stop the paper blowing around. Let children find the seeds, put them in the seed tray in the sun and after a couple of weeks they can press the seed pods and hear the seeds fall on the newspaper.

Put the seeds into little envelopes with the name of the plant and perhaps a picture cut from a seed catalogue. This will keep them occupied for hours.

How are the plants in containers and baskets? Are you dead-heading every day?

Hopefully they’re still looking good and should still be excellent in a month’s time. Mind you, when you look around, you can see who deadheads and feeds can’t you? Many baskets are ‘over’ because of neglect.

If you’ve been on holiday and your containers look sad, give them a good drink and cut the stems back to a side shoot. Instead of feeding with tomato fertiliser, encourage more growth by watering with Maxicrop Complete plant food.

It’s a liquid feed which is diluted with water. The nitrogen in this natural feed will invigorate the plants. In three weeks the plants will look wonderful again; in fact, you may find they look better than in July.

TIP OF THE WEEK

This is an excellent time to replant a strawberry bed, particularly if you have allowed strawberry plant runners to grow in little pots alongside the parent plants.

If not, strawberry plants can be bought at garden centres.

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