Plus pic of plums for roundell

Hot Autumn Containers!

Summer planters and containers are now starting to look as though they have past their best and very soon they can be emptied out. Summer containers are often followed by winter and spring containers planted with a selection of spring bedding plants such as pansies, polyanthus, wallflowers, bellis and a selection of spring flowering bulbs to give colour early next year. However, if you want some autumn interest now is the time to pay a visit to you local garden centre to buy some of the many plants that look good now and will carry on looking good for a couple more months. Planting an autumn container bridges the gap from the end of September when the summer containers finish through until early winter and is a good way of adding some seasonal colour to the garden. Last week chillies featured at the autumn flower show and these colourful plants are perfect for spicing up an autumn container. Very often at this time of the year you can buy dwarf chilli plants full of colourful fruit and although the plants are not hardy, they will be fine outside in a sheltered position for several weeks until we start to get hard frosts. When mixed with other autumnal plants such as bronze coloured grass, ivy, ajuga and heuchera you can create a really interesting container for your door step that will also provide you with some hot chillies when you want to spice up a meal!

Readers’ Questions

Chris from Ripon has been in touch to ask how he can propagate a rose bush that is growing in an elderly relative’s garden. She doesn’t know the name of the rose but would love to be able to grow one in her garden for sentimental reasons.

Roses that you buy from nurseries and garden centres are budded, which is a process where a bud from the named rose is inserted into the bark of a seedling rose rootstock. This is usually done around July time and the following spring the tiny bud grows to form a new plant. The advantage of this system is growers can propagate lots of roses quickly and the rootstock will provide uniform vigour. However, to propagate a rose from your relative’s garden this way means growing rootstocks first and then learning how to bud, so I would advise you take some cuttings. Roses root reasonably well from hardwood cuttings taken in October although I would suggest you take several cuttings. Select a long shoot and using secateurs trim below a bud and above a bud making the cutting approximately 25-30cm long. Remove all but the top two or thee leaves and insert the cuttings into deep pots of potting compost and stand in a cold frame or cold greenhouse, or insert the cutting directly the garden. Next spring, those that have rooted will grow new shoots from the top few buds to form a new rose bush. One of the advantages of growing a rose on its own roots it you will never get any suckers.

Jobs for the Week

Start planting spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and snowdrops as they need to form a root system before winter.

Carry on picking apples and plums as the fruits ripen.

Take cuttings of fuchsias and geraniums to grow new plants for next year

If you have gardening question for Martin Fish please email him at martin@flowershow.org.uk and we’ll print a selection of questions and answers for readers to share. Or, write to Ackrill Media Group, 1 Car dale Park, Harrogate and we’ll pass on your question.