Weekend Work: Still time to fill gaps in borders

What to do

As always at this time of the year, aphids are building up in astonishing numbers. Flea beetle is flourishing, too. Sowings of rocket can quickly be peppered with holes. Watch for blackfly on beans, thrips on peas, root fly on cabbages, Brussels sprouts and cauliflowers, and slugs and snails on everything.

Mildew may also be a problem. It has already broken out on the bits of acanthus springing up in the border where I thought I had dug it out. Roses and other herbaceous plants may also be affected. Unfortunately, fungicides work better as preventatives than cures.

There is still time to fill gaps in borders with fast-growing annuals such as clarkia and cornflower. If you have had no luck in the past with sowing direct in the ground, try scattering the seed thinly over compost in a seed tray, and waiting for the seedlings to grow in that. Then transplant them in little clumps to where you want them to grow.

Biennials such as double daisies, forget-me-nots, wallflowers and sweet Williams should be sown in drills outside, ready for a display in spring and summer next year. I am also sowing seed of a hollyhock Alcea rosea 'Nigra' (Thompson & Morgan £1.49) which is about 150cm (5ft) tall. The flowers are rich chocolate-maroon, as close to black as a hollyhock can get.

Take cuttings of pinks, pulling off non-flowering side shoots and pushing them round the edge of a 13cm (5in) pot of compost mixed with extra sand. Cover the pot with a polythene bag until the cuttings have rooted.

What to see

More than 120 private spaces are opening up as part of the London Parks and Gardens Trust Open Squares weekend. Visit the Zen Garden at the Hempel Hotel in Bayswater or Little Abbey, part of the historic Abbey Orchard site, in Westminster. At Sir John Cass's Primary School in Whitechapel, you can admire a new roof garden. One ticket (£9) gives access to all venues over the entire weekend. For full details of all the places you can visit, go to opensquares.org

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible