Herbaceous plants will require careful staking. This should always be done in good time, or the plants may become straggling or top-heavy, and will not then recover. The kind of support used must vary according to the plant. Some can be neatly tied to one large stake placed behind the main stem, and secured by tarred twine or raffia; others require their side shoots tying out to smaller sticks. Green painted sticks are least obtrusive, and bamboos most durable; the latter can be bought stained green, with bast to match. Carnations should be staked, if possible, with special carnation stakes.
Continue thinning annuals until they have plenty of space. From 6 to 12 inches should be a usual distance, allowing 4 inches for very low-growing plants. Stick brushwood tops among the plants where support is needed, and give a gentle watering afterwards. Weeds must be kept down with hand and hoe.
Seeds for Next Year's Plants
Many Alpine plants may be propagated at this time of year; they should be rooted in cold frames or a shady border, and planted out when ready. Where seed is sown, this should be done in pans, for as the seed is usually small, attention to the seedlings is thus rendered more easy.
Seeds of plants intended for next year's spring bedding should now be sown, including stocks, forget-me-nots, primroses, and polyanthus. If these are sown early, and given plenty of room in a poor soil, they will be sturdy plants before winter, and be less likely to damp off. Seeds of biennials and perennials may also be sown in shady borders, and treated as above. The illustration shows the cup-and-saucer variety of Canterbury bell, a good subject among biennials, which should be sown this month.
The lawn will need cutting at least once weekly, and its verges trimmed, so as to keep them perfectly neat. Gravel walks should be well weeded also, and rolled as often as possible.
Roses may be budded towards the end of the month. Tie in the shoots of climbing roses, or they will be liable to be broken by wind.
Roses should receive plenty of water in dry weather, especially such as are against walls. The roots of these and other flowers should be kept as cool as possible by hoeing and mulching. Spray roses with insecticide whenever greenfly is troublesome, and keep watch for this pest on sweet peas, etc.
Cut back any straggling shoots of viola, and give a good, even top-dressing of old manure or leaf mould. The effect of this will be to encourage a fresh and bushy growth and a long flowering season. Remove all withered flowers of every sort.
Pipings of pinks should be taken off two inches long, the leaves removed from the two lowest joints, and the pipings planted in moist, fine soil in a shady part of the garden, and covered with a hand-light.