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Plant Care

How Plants Cope with Dry Climates

Low rainfall forces plants to be water efficient

Water is essential to plant life. Even plants that live in arid deserts need moisture and have developed sophisticated techniques to capture and retain moisture.

Taking Root Cuttings

Spring bulbs deliver so much Propagating using root cuttings is simply using nature to increase our plant stock, or to keep tender plants in our gardens.

And it's a whole lot of fun besides.

Spring Bulbs

Spring bulbs deliver so much

Spring bulbs deliver so much

Bulbs celebrate the end of winter. But you need to plan now and plant for a superb spring display as planting in late summer and early autumn enables bulbs to make good root growth and get established before cold weather stops growth.

For colour, form and fragrance look to the stars of the spring bulb repertoire are tulips, narcissi and hyacinths.

Rose Care in Winter

R. 'Old Blush'

Summer in the rose garden; watering, deadheading and tying in are all on the agenda at the moment.

Check ties on climbers and ramblers to avoid them crashing to the ground or being broken in wind and gales. Reduce long, whippy canes on shrub roses that catch and thrash about in the wind

Forget all those stories - seeds are programmed to grow. The skills for success with seeds are easily learned and the equipment need not be expensive. You can collect your own seeds from the garden.

Growing from Seed - our guide to why, how and when.

Sowing New Lawns
Lawn CareA good lawn is the pride and joy of many gardeners.

Autumn is a great opportunity to sow new lawns. You can get a head start and plan to prepare the area well first: and read our guide before you start!

More Plant Care
More Plant Care Features

Maintaining the display

Maintaining the displayRemoving dead flower heads is key to prolonging flowering. Why? Because the sole objective of our flowering plants is procreation; producing seed.

All the plant's energy goes into producing a fine crop of seed, instead of a wonderful show of late summer flowers. Deadheading prevents seed production and the plants, intent on making 'babies', flower again.

Salvias, delphiniums, roses, geums, hemerocallis and many other favourites will simply flower again, or for longera longer season, if we remove the dead flower-heads. Alchemiila, nepeta and geraniums can be cut hard back after their first flowering and will regrow, and re-bloom.

Besides, a tidy and border with dead-heads removed looks just so much better.

Collecting Seeds
Collecting SeedsDivision, cuttings, 'slips'. There are many ways to increase your plants and to carry annuals from season to season. Collecting seed is one method often overlooked.

Some plants seed freely and widely. So much so that gardeners deadhead them quickly before they can takeover the gardens. Other seeds need to be collected. When the seed heads or pods have dried, but not opened, cut or shake them into a brown paper bag, not plastic as moisture is trapped and the seeds go mouldy. Label each bag as you go, it's even harder to recognise seeds than plants!

Clean the seed (remove seed coverings, pods, petals and stems) and store in a cool dry place until ready to sow. Many seeds germinate better when fresh, hellebores often have prodigious numbers of offspring under their canopy as the seed has fallen and germinated fresh, but are reluctant to germinate if even slightly stale.

Work in the Border

Re-working the display
Time to take a long hard look, using any summer photographs and your trusty notebook, and decide to plunge in and re-work the borders this coming winter.

Apart from dividing congested and over-large plants,bringing more interest in form (shape) and texture creates a better display, and over a far longer period.

Preparing a BorderPreparing a Border
Planting a new border is tremendous fun, and it is exciting to see the new plantings develop. To get the best result, and avoid constant problems with weeds and soil nutrients later, make sure that you get the preparation right before you plant.

Dividing Perennial Plants

Dividing the plant revitalizes itDividing perennials will again soon be upon us. Plant can outgrow their allotted space, overwhelming neighbours and spoiling the balance in a planting scheme.

Many perennials become open as the growth in the centre ages and dies, with woody tissues that are prone to disease and sap the energy, besides looking less than great. Division revitalises the plant.

Dividing Bearded Iris

Dividing the plant revitalizes itLeft to their own devices bearded iris become congested, woody and old, flowering poorly, but respond brilliantly to regular division.

Small Space Vegetables

Small Space Vegetable GardeningGardens become ever smaller, garden space becomes more and more precious. Once the norm, space for growing vegetables may seem just a dream.

Yet there are lots of ways to introduce vegetables into the garden, especially as we can become more innovative in how we grow our veges.

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Last revised 16 Feb '04