Now’s a great time to get inspiration

Rudbeckias making the most of the sun
Rudbeckias making the most of the sun

GARDENING: Readers' questions and a whole host of horticultural jobs from Brian Kidd

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The evenings are beginning to drawn in now and I am wondering if we will be changing the clocks again this year? I seem to remember this was one of the issues the government was very keen to explore.

The shorter day length makes all types of plant grow more rapidly. I mention this because of the alarming rate of growth on weeds right now.

You can look at a seedling of chickweed and within three weeks it will join with the ones alongside. After another week a blanket of weeds will have formed all over the ground and at the allotment at the moment, the chickweed is covering the last of the summer cabbages. I mention this because you are not the only one to be experiencing this nuisance!

It’s important to hoe the weeds off and pick them up otherwise heavy dew at night will see them root again and go to seed. One year’s seeds means seven years weeds.

Due to the need for weeding, some important jobs can be forgotten on the allotment, for example the Autumn Bliss raspberries are beautiful, but the fruits quickly become very small if the plants are not given sufficient water. I have been adding a small amount of tomato fertiliser to the water and using about one gallon to each yard run of canes. The result is huge fruits after about 10 days.

At home, the signs of autumn are creeping in, with early leaf fall on the lime tree in the front garden. The herbaceous border is looking great because the Japanese anemones have shot up into flower and the Rudbeckia daisies are catching the sunshine. Aster Frikartii is coming into bloom and this brings me to what else is looking good.

Pam and I visited Garsons at Titchfield and we saw a wonderful idea. Just outside the main glasshouse structure they’ve created a border more than 50ft long and it has been planted with late summer and autumn flowering herbaceous plants. What a brilliant idea, it is an inspiration to new gardeners as well as a very good reminder for those who have been gardening for a long time. The great thing is you can see how high the plants grow and can then find them in pots on the staging nearby.

At Keydell, in Horndean, have a look at Lobelia cardinalis. Wow what a sight. The brilliant spires of red flowers look spectacular alongside the deep yellow dahlias. All in pots with masses of blooms, they last for weeks and all we have to do is remove the dead flowers regularly.

The great thing about visiting a garden centre is that it’s free, you don’t have to rush around and there is rarely a crowd.

You don’t have to buy anything but if you are like us you always come away with something which will provide beauty for many weeks ahead. Have you fallen in love with Penstemon yet?