Cosmos and dahlias can help fill the gaps

Cosmos (or cosmea) offer beautiful blooms and gentle foliage.
Cosmos (or cosmea) offer beautiful blooms and gentle foliage.
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The herbaceous border is looking really good because the plants were supported with pig wire and sprays of hazel to stop the foliage falling over.

It isn’t too late to support the plants and ordinary chicken wire can be used to form a cage around the foliage with short canes to keep the foliage up together. It’s a good idea to ask someone to help you to do this.

A hammer is very handy to knock in the canes.

At this time of year we often see a gap in what should be a perfect border. A lady who visited our garden asked me what to plant so that the gap would be filled with plants which would flower for the rest of the summer.

I asked her why there was a gap and she told me that she had a huge specimen of Viburnum tinus which started to die off about a month ago. It lost a couple of branches last year and she wrote to me and was advised to cut out the dead parts.

This problem was caused by a wet and cold winter and a fungus called Phytopthora. This causes havoc in gardens and at home the tops of the hydrangeas died off.

The dead parts were cut out and new shoots are arising from the base of the plants. Each plant was given a good drench of Maxicrop Growth Stimulant.

I don’t think they would have pulled through if they had not been fed with the Maxicrop.

Where a huge shrub has died it is possible to buy a large shrub in a container

at a garden centre and it pleases me to see them available.

But they are expensive and I can recall my dad saying, ‘just look at the price’.

I used to tell him he had to remember the shrub was several years old and had been cultivated with care!

If you are trying to fill a gap with a plant which will grow to about three feet with flowers for the rest of the summer, the best option is cosmos (or cosmea).

The foliage is gentle and fern-like and the flowers are like huge daises.

Quite often there are three plants in the same pot.

This makes the border very interesting and all we have to do is take out some soil with a trowel, break up the base of the hole, add a scattering of any flower fertiliser, work this into the soil and replace the soil around the root and give the plant a good drench afterwards.

To ensure blooms all summer, cut off every dead flower as soon it fades.

Dahlias are also excellent for filling gaps and if you grow them you will know how good they are this year.