Reaping the benefits of regular feeding

Give roses the required boost with specific or general feed
Give roses the required boost with specific or general feed

With the warmth and summer showers, plants in all parts of the garden are showing tremendous growth – and that includes the weeds that seem to pop up overnight!

All plants benefit from regular feeding, be it by liquid mix or granular and two certainly requiring a boost are roses and dahlias. There are fertilizers specifically for roses but both of these gross feeders will be quite happy with a general feed.

n It seems strange to be thinking of flowers for next spring but this is the time to sow wallflowers. If there is space for a seed row in a vegetable plot that is the ideal spot. Sow thinly and later when the young plants are large enough, pinch out the centre to promote bushy growth. Keep them watered and fed for planting out in October.

n Celosia plants (c. argenta Plumosa) are currently available, recognisable by their brightly-coloured plume-like flower spike, hence they are sometimes called Prince of Wales’ Feathers. This is a tender half-hardy annual which, if planted outdoors, must have a sheltered position and at its best in a warm summer. They make a good house or conservatory plant.

n The sedum group of plants with their fleshy stems is wide and varied, many of which are low-growing and spreading rockery plants. However, there is one you will not find in a rockery and that is s. spectabile and is for a mixed border or herbaceous border. If you want to attract butterflies to your garden, this is the one.

Unlike its rockery relatives, it grows between 12 and 18 inches high depending on variety, the head is a large cluster of tiny flowers and comes in various shades of red.

Flowering in late summer, Ice Plants as they are often termed, are very easy to grow, just requiring any well-drained soil, best in full sun, quite hardy and reliable.

n Having experienced a relatively much less severe winter, a shrub that is currently providing masses of blooms is ceanothus, the Californian Lilac. This is a valuable specimen for a border as its flower clusters are blue – not a common colour for shrubbery.

In a severe winter it will suffer so in this are a sheltered spot is essential though new shoots will appear.

Flowering later in the year is another ‘blue’. Caryopteris, the blue spiraea, is a valuable shrub to include in plantings and though it also can be affected in a severe winter, new growth will appear.