Gardening with grasses
Using grasses in borders can be really rewarding: not only are they low maintenance but they produce fantastic flower heads in summer and autumn which can provide structure in a garden right through until spring.
The grass borders at Longmeadow are in a sheltered sunny spot that helps them to thrive. The soil is heavy and can be wet in winter but Monty has improved it with lots of grit to aid drainage.
The grasses which are flourishing at Longmeadow include:
- Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’
- Deschampsia cespitosa (tufted hair grass)
- Anemanthele lessoniana (pheasant grass)
- Stipa gigantea (golden oats)
- Miscanthus sinensis 'Malepartus'
Perennials which combine really well with the grasses include:
- Rudbeckia lanceolata
- Aster umbellatus
- Inula magnifica
Plants that self-seed freely amongst them include:
- Verbena bonariensis
More information about gardening with grasses (rhs.org.uk)
Jobs for the weekend: Cut back thyme
At this time of year thyme can get very woody which is not so good for cooking with. If you cut it back fairly hard now, removing most of this year’s growth, you’ll get a fresh crop of tender green leaves that are ideal for using in the kitchen.
More about growing herbs (rhs.org.uk)
Jobs for the weekend: Keep picking cucurbits
The cucurbit family, which includes courgettes and cucumbers, are producing lots of fruit now and it’s important to keep picking them while they’re small. That way they’ll be better to eat and they’ll keep producing new fruits, extending the harvesting season by weeks.
More about cucurbits (www.kew.org)
Jobs for the weekend: Tidy and prune rambling roses
Rambling roses produce their flowers on the previous season’s growth so now they’ve finished flowering, it’s a good time to tidy them up and prune them as necessary. Cut back any unwanted growth and tie in new shoots where they are to flower next summer. If your plant is old and woody, remove some of the old stems to encourage new shoots.
For advice about rose pruning (www.bbc.co.uk)
- Monty Don
- Carol Klein
- Series Editor
- Liz Rumbold
- Babs Lewis