AUGUST brings with it a another chapter in the garden
calendar. Many plants run to seed during August, and you may
be tempted to cut back and tidy those plants whose flowers are
But think again. Even dying plants can give the garden
character while seeding and your garden could yield a rich
harvest of home-saved seed.
Collecting seed can be great fun especially for the young
budding horticulturist. Keep an eye on those plants that
mature and shed their seed quickly.
Seed from some species, including poppies, columbines and
foxgloves can be shaken straight from the capsule, while
others such as hardy geraniums, are safer if the whole stem is
removed and replaced upside down in a paper bag.
Store collected seed in old envelopes of clean paper bags,
labelling each variety immediately after collection.
As for sowing, the fresher the better. Most hardy
perennials will germinate very quickly if sown immediately
after collection, either in a cold frame or in the open
ground. Don't forget to exchange seeds with your friends and
Take cuttings now of your favourite garden shrubs. These
can be cheaply and easily propagated in a cold frame or cool
Select your cuttings; these should be at a semi ripe stage.
Apply a hormone rooting powder to the prepared cuttings and
stick them in soil that has been enriched with leaf mould,
compost and grit to allow for good drainage. Avoid disturbing
them until they have rooted, which should be in a few months.
These can be gently potted up and grown on for planting out
During the next few weeks examine your house plants and
look for signs of over watering. The signs will be apparent,
yellowing or dropping of the leaves is a sure sign of over
If so allow the plants to dry out naturally and reduce
water and feeding slowly as growth begins to slow down for the
House plants that have been placed outside during the
summer months can be brought back inside to acclimatise in
their positions before the weather temperature drops.