BEST OF THE BUNCH –Cranesbill geranium
This perennial plant is perfect at the front of borders, to fill in gaps where otherwise weeds would grow and to add colour to the scene. Generally easy to grow, the compact types grow to around 15cm tall, are good for rock gardens, while mat-forming plants make good ground cover in woodland gardens and taller, clump-forming species and hybrids look great in a border or among shrubs. Good varieties include Geranium ‘Orion’, whose striking violet-blue flowers stand out in herbaceous beds, while G. ‘Ann Folkard’ produces magenta flowers from May to October with a foil of yellowish young foliage ageing to light green. A real winner is g. Rozanne, which was the winner of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Centenary this year. Good companions include plants with a strong outline, such as phormiums, tall alliums or irises.
What to do this week:
Prune: large and overgrown clematis montana after flowering, cutting back hard to encourage new growth.
earth up: potatoes to encourage them to root into a ridge of soil and develop a larger crop.
Top up: pond water levels as they fall in hot weather.
Place: a small ramp into steep-sided pools and water features so that small mammals like hedgehogs can climb out if they accidentally fall in
water: plants growing at the base of walls where the soil can remain dry despite rain
Pinch: out the tips of trailing plants in hanging baskets to make them branch out. Pick
off dead flowers every few
sow: seeds of wallflowers in a corner of the garden to transplant in the autumn
Three ways to make the most fertiliser
1. Use granular or powder
fertilisers on moist ground, then hoe them in. If the
soil surface is dry, water well in.
2. Don’t apply feeds when plants are under stress due to water shortage or attack from pest or disease, nor in dormant seasons.
3. Always follow the recommended rate of use. Too much fertiliser can scorch plant roots. If you over-apply by
mistake, drench the compost with plenty of water to wash out the excess.