What to do this month

Flowers

By Bridgette Saunders

Autumn is the time to collect seed from perennials and hardy annuals that can be sown now or in spring.  By sowing them now they will make good-sized plants to over-winter and get a good start next spring.  The hardy annuals make brilliant cut flowers and will also be free if you collect the seed.  The give you buckets of cut flowers – see last months bulletin for more tips on seed collection.  Don’t forget if you do not want to collect the seed it is best to cut dead flower off as theses will take the strength away from the plant.

If you collect seeds from perennials these are best stored somewhere cool and dry and sown in the spring – you can sown then in pots or seed trays, outside in a sheltered area or in a cold frame.

A cold frame is like a small unheated glasshouse and is a brilliant place for keeping cuttings and over wintering plants – you can make your own using old window frames or they are fairly cheap to buy.  A really good supplier of all things horticultural at good prices is Selections – www.selections.com  tel: 01305848725.

One of the most pleasurable of jobs for September is choosing your spring bulbs – we will have lots for sale at the Garden House in the coming weeks – www.gardenhousebrighton   The Garden House will be open every Friday from 3.00 – 6.00 if you are looking for seeds or bulbs to buy – come along and have a cup of tea and a piece of cake and spend time getting advice on what bulbs to buy. 

Having bulbs in flower on your allotment in the early spring will give you a good reason to go along and will cheer you on cold days!  I prefer to go for small Narcissi (the Latin name for daffodil), as well as crocus for really early flowers.  We will look at how to plant them in October’s bulletin.

Now is a good time to start collecting your old toilet rolls to sow your sweet peas in next month.  Look through the catalogues to find ones you like – this has been a brilliant year for sweet peas and we have been  picking them at the Garden House now for around four months.  The variety we grow is Cupani  a Sicilian monk sent seed of the wild Sweet Pea to Robert Uvedale of Enfield more than 300 years ago, and from this all our modern varieties are descended. This variety has an irresistible scent.

If you are growing Dahlias they should be looking amazing now – again if you are new to growing look at some of the varieties that you like and make a note of them, we love Rip City, and Arabian Night here at the Garden House and this year have some amazing blooms of Café au Lait, whose name is an apt description.  Feed your Dahlias now with a high potash food such as you use of your tomatoes, for example seaweed or comfrey, this will enable them to flower for much longer also help them with winter hardiness.

This page was added by Melanie Matthews on 14/09/2011.