Heart of a Garden Blog

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Category: In the Garden

  1. Late summer in the garden

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    This summer has passed by far too quickly, maybe because here in the Lakes I’ve been waiting for it to arrive with only a few days here and there of what I consider summer weather – days when you wake up and see blue sky tempting you outside for breakfast, then time for some gardening or pottering and maybe a quick sunbathe, finishing the day off with a bbq in the warm evening air – I’m dreaming and anyway when would a day like that would arrive when I wasn’t working! There was one good thing, it rained so much the garden loved it and I’ve hardly had to do any watering, saving lots of time!  Oh well…maybe next year will be better as September is now here and the coolness of the mornings and evenings tells me that autumn is not far away.

    crocosmia in the late summer garden - Heart of a Garden

    BUT I love late summer… there are so many flowers with beautiful warm colours in my small garden -nasturtiums, hypericum, potentilla, clematis, Japanese anemone’s and my favourites – crocosmias.  Crocosmias come in various sizes and shades of red and orange.  They spread quickly so need to be kept in order…I have to pull lots up every year and keep just a couple of neat clumps but I wouldn’t be without them!  Tomatoes are still ripening in the greenhouse and if you’re lucky to have a vegetable patch or allotment I’m sure you’ll have a glut of runner beans and courgettes!  I miss the mass of roses that were out in June and July but there are still a few in bloom. 

      hypericum in the late summer garden - Heart of a Garden  

    Divide perennials. 
    Now is the time of year to divide perennials that have outgrown their plot. Dig up the plant and with a spade divide it into 2 or more clumps depending on the size and then re-plant around the garden. A great way to get extra plants for free!

    Buy and plant spring flowering bulbs. 
    There’s an excellent choice in the garden centres and nurseries at the moment so you should find good quality bulbs. Try to plant by the end of September.

    Collect seeds from perennials and hardy annuals
    Cut stems with seed heads and place in a warm, dry place such as greenhouse or sunny windowsill.  When dry, store the seeds in a paper envelope or small cardboard tubes (see our Seed Saver tubes) and store in the refrigerator or somewhere cool and dry until ready to be used.

    fennel in the late summer garden - Heart of a Garden

  2. Up-Cycling Ideas for the Garden - Pots and Planters

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    If you've old and unwanted items that you're thinking of throwing out, think again.  Why not up-cycle them by making new and unique pots and planters for your garden. It's easy and fun to do and doen't cost you anything except some time!

    I’ve had a tyre sitting in my garden for a while, waiting to be disposed of.  But then I got thinking about ways I could use it in my garden…maybe a small pond or a planter.  With a few tyres you could make an eye-catching garden feature such as the gorgeous colourful ones in this photo.  Simply paint with some bright colours, add a plastic liner, some drainage material and soil, and fill with colourful plants for a beautiful summer display.

    garden-gardening-garden-ideas-upcycled-tyre-plantersphoto from: http://www.birdsandblooms.com/


    Walking Boots:
    I’ve also got some walking boots that are on their last legs so I plan to let them retire in the garden and become an attractive planter like the one in the photo filled with Campanula. 

    garden-gardening-garden ideas -walking boot - pots and planters
    photo from: http://imgfave.com/

    If you’ve got children you’ll probably have a few pairs of old wellies lying around that they've grown out of.  Give the children a project during school holidays to up-cycle them into garden pots filled with their favourite flowers.  The more the merrier!

    garden-gardening-garden ideas-upcycled wellies-pots and planters

    photo from: http://healinggardenproject.blogspot.co.uk/

    A Car:
    I guess not many people will have a car lying around or even have room for one in their back garden - but I couldn’t resist putting this photo in!

    garden-gardening-garden ideas -garden-pots-and-planters
    photo from: http://healinggardenproject.blogspot.co.uk/ 

    A Colander:
    They make great hanging containers and come with ready made drainage holes ready to hang in the garden! 

    garden-gardening-garden ideas-upcycled colander-pots and planters
    photo from: http://www.afrugallife.org/

    The lid broke on my favourite tea-pot recently and I couldn't bear to throw it out.  It now has another job as a plant pot and looks gorgeous planted up with flowering plants.  It is possible to carefully drill a hole in the bottom for drainage and always add some old broken terracotta pots or gravel to the bottom - or it could be used for indoor plants.  An even simpler idea for a teapot is to use it as a vase for the kitchen windowsill!

    garden-gardening-garden ideas-teapot planter

    Tin Cans:
    My son recently gave me a gift -  a hanging pot made from a tin can.  He painted a lovely design on it but if like me you don't have much artistic talent, keep them in their natural state as a plain, shiny tin!   Remember to put a few drainage holes in the bottom, then simply fill with flowering plants or hanging plants such as strawberries.  A good idea if you've run out of space in the greenhouse. 

    garden-gardening-garden ideas-upcycled plant pot    garden-gardening-garden ideas-upcycled pots and planters

    That's it for now.  I hope this has inspired you to find unwanted containers to up-cycle into useful pots and planters for your garden.

    Happy Gardening!


  3. Quick & Easy Edible Flowers to Sow in the Garden

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    I find it’s always good to have some easy to grow annual flowers ready to pop in the garden.  These are 3 of my favourites and require little care but are quick to brighten up and fill in any dull spots in the garden!  As a bonus they are edible too!  


    Nasturtiums with their glorious red, orange or yellow flowers will grow almost anywhere….and the bees love them!  As well as looking beautiful, they have a long flowering season, right into the autumn and they’re also edible - both the flowers and leaves are great in salads or as a garnish.

    Sow them where you want them to flower once frosts have passed.  They can be grown as:

    • Ground cover – sow the large seeds where you want them to grow for a colourful flower border.
    • As a climber – sow them at the bottom of some trellising or allow them to clamber up a shrub.
    • In a planter or hanging basket – just pop a seed into the container for a wonderful flowing display.


    Calendula (Marigolds)

    These annuals have pretty daisy like flowers and  are an easy way to add colour to the garden.  I usually sow the seeds into trays in the greenhouse before potting them out but they can be grown directly into the earth where they are to flower.

    The golden flower petals are edible and good to cook with or to colour up salads.


     Image courtesy of Lavoview at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


    These are flowers that make a feature in the garden, especially the giant variety.   I always loved to grow these in my little garden plot as a child - it’s fascinating watching a tiny seed grow into such a tall plant.  Sunflowers do need a sunny and sheltered spot in the garden and I usually start them off in a small pot in the greenhouse but they can be grown straight into the garden.  Just watch out for slugs!

    Once the flower heads die off, don’t forget to collect the edible and healthy seeds! Or leave them over winter for the garden birds to feed on.

  4. Japanese Anemone (anemone x hybrida)

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    Japanese-anemoneJapanese Anemone (anemone x hybrida)

    Japanese Anemone - a bit confusing as the plant actually originated in China! 

    With beautiful pale pink  or white flowers, yellow stamens and dark green foliage, this is a plant to give a welcome boost to the garden in late summer and early autumn. It's an invasive but very lovely plant so be prepared to pull up or divide when the clump reaches its boundaries.  

    In my garden it’s one of my favourite plants from August to October as it loves growing in shady areas with the elegant flowers growing up to 1m high.  So far I've been lucky and it’s been well-behaved, staying in nice, neat clumps!