What to do
Take cuttings from tender perennials such as fuchsia, geranium, helichrysum, osteospermum and felicia. Overwinter them in a greenhouse or a similar shelter.
Start planting daffodil bulbs. The Royal Horticultural Society runs long-term (three-year) trials of daffodils and narcissus with varieties marked on impact (30 points), weather resistance (10 points) and general constitution (10 points). Among those awarded an Award of Garden Merit are bright gold 'Arkle' and 'Tripartite', a dwarf narcissus with several soft yellow flowers on a stem. Both are available from Quality Daffodils, 14 Roscarrack Close, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 4PJ, 01326 317959, qualitydaffodils.com. Daffodils always look better set in groups rather than dotted about singly.
Cut off and dry seed heads from alliums, Chinese lantern, honesty and poppies and hang them upside down to dry for winter decorations. Peel off the outer coats of the honesty discs to reveal the silvery central membrane.
House plants need less food and water as growth slows down. Tuberous rooted begonias and gloxinias should be laid on their sides in a cool greenhouse.
The heavy dews and still air of early autumn may encourage attacks of mildew on Michaelmas daisies, new growth of rose bushes and young forget-me-not plants. Spray with fungicide to keep this unsightly disease under control. Some old varieties of Michaelmas daisy are notably more prone to mildew than types such as Aster frikartii. If you are tired of battling with the spray bottle, dig up old clumps at the end of the flowering season, refresh the soil with compost and bonemeal and plant with mildew-resistant types in spring.
What to see
The Cornwall Food and Drink Festival continues today (9am-5.30pm) and tomorrow (10am-4pm), celebrating everything that's good about Cornish food. Claim free entrance to Trelissick Gardens at Feock, nr Truro, and admire the hydrangeas from the pop-up bar on the tennis lawn. For more information about the festival go to cornwallfoodanddrink.co.uk/festival2011.Reuse content