The end of summer is hot and sultry, with many garden plants taking immense strain from the weather conditions. At times like these spring flowers are not in the forefront of the gardeners’ mind. On reflection, this harsh period is the ideal time to start thinking about and preparing for the spring garden. All the homework and planning that is carried out now will ensure that spring is filled with the finest flowers.
Many of the most important spring flowers need to be planted out as young seedlings in autumn. Numerous gardeners miss the boat and then make the cardinal error of trying to play catchup when spring arrives and they see foxgloves, delphiniums, primulas, poppies and so many other beautiful blooms in other gardens. Well, the strong message here is that when you see these spring-flowering annuals in bloom it’s too late for you to plant them for the current season – planting and growing schedules need to planned at the end of summer. Actual planting then commences as temperatures drop and autumn sets in.
Soil preparation can be undertaken well in advance. In certain circumstances where summer flowers have finished early, the soil can be turned over and a ‘green manure’ crop sown in late summer or early autumn. Marigolds work well for this purpose. Seeds are scattered over the soil, allowed to germinate, and grow until the soil needs to be prepared for the spring flowers. At this point the young marigold plants are turned over and dug into the soil