Life

Time to get those herbs harvested for winter

Snip and freeze your garden herbs before they go to seed

THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK

:: Harvest culinary herbs to freeze or dry for winter use.

:: Disbud dahlias, as required.

:: Remove the growing tips from greenhouse tomatoes by the middle of August to encourage the fruit to develop rapidly.

:: Take the last crop of cuttings from pinks.

:: Pick off and destroy any fruits of early apples and plum trees showing signs of rot.

:: Plant new summer varieties of strawberries.

:: Collect and dry seeds of dill, fennel, chives and other herbs as they ripen. They can be resown immediately in seed drills if you want to expand the stock in the herb garden. Alternatively, they are useful for flavouring.

:: Continue to cut sweetpeas to encourage further flowers.

:: Feed trees and shrubs that are performing badly with a high-nitrogen liquid fertiliser.

:: Take cuttings of rock plants such as aubrieta, phlox, thyme and helianthemum.

BEST OF THE BUNCH

Helenium

THESE gorgeous burnt orange and yellow flowers, whose domed, daisy-like centres seem to look up at the sun, provide a fantastic addition to the late summer border, paired with crocosmias, salvias and rudbeckias, to give a dazzling show.

They are best planted in groups of three or more in a sunny spot in moist but well-drained fertile soil. Established clumps need dividing every couple of years.

Good varieties include H. 'Septemberfuchs', a tall variety growing to 1.5m (5ft) which benefits from early staking with canes, H. 'Sahin's Early Flowerer', a more drought-tolerant type with flame-streaked petals, and H. 'Moerheim Beauty', which bears rich orange flowers with a prominent brown centre.

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