Weekend Work: Times to sow the seeds of perennial plants

What to do

Seeds of perennial plants will now be ripening fast. Some are best sown as soon as they are gathered. Aquilegias, for example, germinate best if sown now in pots or boxes of damp compost standing in the shade. I had some good new aquilegias this season, crosses I suspect between shaggy 'Nora Barlow' and a deep blue granny's bonnet.

Primula seed is also best sown fresh, though, like pansy seed, it germinates most successfully in cool conditions (below). Seed of astrantia, campanula, foxglove, hellebore, hollyhock, honesty and polemonium can all be sown freshly gathered, though not all will be ready yet.

Garlic can be lifted as soon as the tops begin to wither and onions turned down to help the bulbs ripen. Radish and lettuce will not germinate successfully if it is too hot and dry, but earlier sowings of the crunchy cos lettuce 'Romaine Ballon' (Mr Fothergills £1) and the mildew-resistant butterhead 'Clarion' (Mr Fothergills £1.39) may still be providing salads.

Summer pruning of espalier, fan and cordon-trained apple and pear trees needs to be tackled. Long fresh shoots on the main branches should be cut back to three or four leaves above the dorsal cluster. Where spurs have got really nobbly, cut back shoots leaving only one leaf.

Philadelphus and weigela may need thinning. Cut out about a third of the flower stems, close to the base.

What to see

Fergus Garrett, the superb head gardener at Great Dixter, Northiam, East Sussex, is leading two study days next month. In the first, 'Succession Planting in the Mixed Border' (3 August, 10am-4.30pm), he'll use the famous Long Border at Dixter to explain what you need to do to ensure interest for as long a season as possible. 'Exotic Gardening' is the subject on 10 Aug (10am-4.30pm) when Fergus deconstructs the Tropical Garden at Great Dixter and explains how to create the same kind of effects at home. Each day costs £100. To book, call Perry Rodriguez on 01797 252878 or e-mail office@greatdixter. co.uk. For further information visit greatdixter.co.uk.

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

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future