What to do
I wrote last week about hardy annuals to sow outside now for a good show early next year. This is a reminder. If you are sowing direct outside, scatter seed as thinly as possible, cover lightly with sifted soil or compost and firm this down on top of the seeds. Protect with netting until the seedlings are established. Do not thin the seedlings until the spring. Annuals such as poppy, calendula, larkspur, limnanthes, love in the mist, clarkia and cornflower can all be treated in this fashion.
Check ties regularly on top-heavy plants such as chrysanthemums and dahlias – the latter especially suffered during summer's bad weather, but there is still time for them to produce new flowers.
Weed carefully round cyclamen corms which tend to get forgotten after the leaves dive underground. The flowers of C. hederifolium are one of the great treats of early September, but they do not like competition.
What to buy
Jekka McVicar is shutting down her famous herb nursery and this weekend all her plants are being sold off at half price. The sale, which started yesterday, continues today and tomorrow (10am-4pm). Jekka's Herb Farm is at Rose Cottage, Shellards Lane, Alveston, Bristol BS35 3SY. For more details, call 01454 418878 or visit jekkasherbfarm.com