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Plants for free

Gardening can be an expensive hobby – just ask my wife. Sometimes I leave plants out of view at the side of the house in an attempt to avoid discussing what I’ve bought or how much it cost. It doesn’t work. Angharad has an amazing memory when it comes to plants! While I will probably always want to try something new in the garden, I have become more conscious in recent years of propagating and collecting seed. September is a busy month for both tasks.


Plants in my garden that seed around freely and deserve a place on the cost cutting plot are:

  • Verbena bonariensis - lollipop like heads pop up between other plants - good with grasses and roses
  • Erigeron karvinskianus or Mexican fleabane – little daisy heads in white and pink tones - can grow in paths and tolerates drought
  • Nigella or Love-in-a-Mist - a good cut flower and one of the annuals I love.
  • Aquilegia also known as Columbine or rather sweetly as granny’s bonnet will seed around - but if you have named varieties don’t expect the seed to come true – they will be also sorts of colours – everyone a surprise!
  • Violas – they seed all over the place and it’s lovely to see their happy little faces as the days shorten.


Perennials are plants that appear every year in spring and generally die down in the autumn. As the soil is still nice and warm in September it’s a good month to divide them. It means you can get these new plants established before winter.


The principles are the same for most:

  • Identify a well establish plant that either needs to be divided or is big enough that you won’t miss a bit.
  • With a spade - dig up the whole clump and split it into however many plants you want. Then replant these sections in the desired location. Make sure they are kept well-watered as they establish.
  • If the plant is in flower when you are dividing, cut the blooms off so it can concentrate its efforts on producing new roots.

There are too many plants to list those suitable for this sort of butchering but for example this year I might divide my Heleniums, Rudbeckia and Nepeta.