Cut flowers are easy to raise from seed as our Vauxhall Barracks ladies have clearly demonstrated. If you fancy having a go, here are 10 sure fire winners to get you started. They are all hardy annuals and can be sown now, in late August or early September. Simply dig over the soil, rake to a fine tilth and sow the seed in a shallow drill. Give them a quick water and, with luck, they’ll be up within a couple of weeks. In cold areas, it might also be worth covering them with a layer of horticultural fleece over the winter.More on growing cut flowers
Ammi majus (Bishop’s weed)
Calendula officinalis (Pot marigold)
Centaurea cyanus (Cornflower)
Consolida ajacis (Larkspur)
Nigella damascena (Love-in-a-mist)
Papaver rhoeas (Shirley poppy)
Papaver somniferum (Opium poppy)
Scabiosa atropurpurea (Scabious)
The alternative is to buy a mixed packet of hardy annuals and scatter the whole lot over the surface of the soil. Give it a light rake plus some water, and you’re off!
Burton Agnes HallBurton Agnes Hall
Tel. 01262 490324
Burton Agnes Hall is well worth a visit if you’re in the area. It’s open every day from April to October. Unfortunately, most of the campanulas Carol went to see are now over, but the rest of the garden is still looking good. For further details, check out the website below.
The harebell is the county flower of Yorkshire, so it is rather appropriate that Carol travelled to Flamborough to see it growing in the wild. Despite its delicate appearance, it has a tough constitution, thriving in dry, windswept places that other plants would find totally inhospitable.Border campanulas
It’s no surprise, therefore, that its cultivated cousin, the bellflower, is so easy to grow in the garden. Whether it be a low growing alpine or a tall, statuesque border belle, there’s no getting away from the fact that they are hugely popular. Campanula lactiflora likes to languish in the shade whereas Campanula punctata loves to bask in the sun. Whichever variety or species you choose to grow, you won’t be disappointed.
Establishing a lawn in the shade is never going to be easy, particularly under a tree where the soil will be starved of nutrients and as dry as a bone. The chances of success largely depends on the degree of shade, so if there’s any possibility of cutting back some of the branches overhead, consider doing so. If the tree belongs to next door, ask your neighbour first. If it is protected by a Tree Preservation Order or you live in a Conservation Area, consult your local council.More on shady lawns
The type of lawn seed you use is important too. Special mixes for shady areas do exist. These often contain a high proportion of fescues and bents which are better suited to these conditions. But if you need a more hardwearing mix, it’s worth looking out for one with a bit of ryegrass in it as well. Follow the instructions on the packet. If no sowing rate is given, aim for one handful per square metre.
JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND: WEED PATHS
Keeping paths and drives clear of weeds can be a bit of a chore if you don’t use chemical weedkillers. Strimming them with a grasstrimmer is one option. Another is to get down on your hands and knees and weed by hand. An old kitchen knife can come in handy for this. Whatever you use, it needs to be sharp.More on dealing with weeds
JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND: TIDY UP STRAWBERRIES
Strawberries are tough plants but it does pay to give them a little bit of attention once fruiting is over. Give them a good weed, remove any surplus runners and cut back all of the leaves. This may sound rather drastic, but it helps to let in more light and air, ensuring a better crop next year.More on growing strawberries
JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND: SOW SPRING CABBAGE
It’s getting a bit late in the day to sow spring cabbage, but if you get on with it this weekend, you might just get a harvest in April or May. You can sow the seed direct in a patch of soil outdoors or raise them seedlings under cover to help speed things along. Once they’re big enough to handle, transfer them to their final position, spacing them about 15cm (6in) apart. ‘Spring Hero’ is a good one to try. It hearts up like a summer cabbage and stands well once mature.More on growing cabbage
- Series Producer
- Liz Rumbold
- Monty Don
- Carol Klein
- Rachel de Thame
- Louise Hampden