In Gardeners World episode 25 2015, Monty Don tackles some seasonal gardening jobs at Longmeadow and guest presenter Matthew Wilson has some ideas to brighten up a dark, north-facing wall.
Gardeners World episode 25 2015:
Divide congested agapanthus
Although agapanthus like their roots constricted, to improve flowering they should periodically be divided and potted on. This can be done in early autumn, after plants have finished flowering, or between spring and early summer. As the roots can be very tough it is best to use either an old bread knife or other cutting implement with serrated edge, such as a pruning saw, to saw the root ball into smaller sections, making sure a couple of growing points remain in each divided section. Large clumps should only be split every four to six years as dividing plants too frequently will reduce flowering.
Take hardwood cuttings of roses
September and October are good months to take hard wood rose cuttings. Select healthy plants and then cut a length of stem about the width of a pencil. Remove the leaves and soft growth from the top. Cut into lengths of 15-30cm (6”-12”) with a sloping cut just above a leaf node at the top and a horizontal cut at the bottom to identify top from bottom. The site chosen for the cuttings should be sheltered, open not shady, with no competition from other plants. Insert each cutting about half way down into free draining, weed free soil, and leave undisturbed until the following winter when they can be carefully dug out and, if successfully rooted, replanted into their permanent position in the garden.
Sow green manure
Green manures are plants grown to improve soil. It is a useful and relatively inexpensive thing to do, in particular with soil in vegetable beds after harvesting crops for the season. Depending on your choice of plant, green manures can stop nutrients leaching, as well as improve soil structure and build nutrients. Prepare a seed bed by raking soil to create a fine surface ready for sowing. Scatter smaller seeds on the soil surface and rake/tamp down. Cut down, hoe off or mow green manure four weeks before the soil is needed and/or before plants flower (whichever is sooner). In no-dig systems, hoe foliage of short term green manures, like mustard, and leave as a mulch on soil surface.