Gardening tips

* Dahlias, perennial phlox, gaura, penstemon, agapanthus, watsonia, eucomis and galtonia keep the summer garden colourful. Water deeply, and mulch around their root area with well-rotted manure or compost. A fortnightly foliar feed and regular deadheading will ensure longer flowering.

* Need late summer colour in your garden? Fill up empty spaces in the borders with echinacea, rudbeckia and gaillardia.

* Make the first sowing of pansy, viola, delphinium, larkspur and Primula malacoides seed in trays. Keep lightly shaded and moist, but not wet. For successful germination, delphinium and larkspur seed should be chilled in an airtight container in the refrigerator (not the freezer) before sowing.

* Garden chrysanthemums in gold, pastel and rich colours are the mainstay of many autumn gardens. They can be frilled or quilled, single or double, and can be relied on to put on a good show in the garden and in the vase. Reduce growth by half to encourage side branching, bushier growth and more flowers.

* The cone flower (Echinacea purpurea) is an attractive summer-flowering perennial with dusty-pink petals and a cone-like cinnamon-brown centre. Butterflies are attracted to the pollen in the daisy-like flowers, and birds will eat the seeds out of the cone after the petals have fallen.

* Anisodontea is a free-flowering shrub, 2m to 3m in height, with pink hibiscus-like flowers that attract butterflies and bees. Grow in full sun and good air circulation, and cut back to encourage bushy new growth. Useful for screening, borders, cottage gardens, mass plantings and indigenous gardens. - Saturday Star