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Brian Kidd, retired Parks Officer for Portsmouth City Council, will be giving weekly gardening advice and answering gardeners emails. Email your gardening questions to



This is a good time to plant some herbaceous border plants into a border in order to keep flowers for as long as possible. Keep in mind Perstemmons are one of the best plants because they keep blooming as long as the dead flowers are removed. If these are too expensive, buy potted Cosmea, the flowers bloom until mid-autumn and even longer if the dead flowers are removed regularly.


Very important to sow seeds of spring cabbages now, choose new varieties such as Offenheim 2 or Duncan, both F1 hybrids which won’t bolt if we have a sudden hot spell next May. The cabbage will be green too, not a slimey yellow. You will find seeds of spring cabbage at Keydell Nurseries.

Prune off summer fruiting raspberry canes as soon as they finish fruiting and ensure the area in which they are growing is not allowed to dry out, new canes should be growing out of the ground, these canes will bear next year’s fruit. Tie the new shoots onto wires as soon as they are long enough.

Get into the habit of summer pruning apples, look at the main branches and there will be side shoots growing out of these branches, cut the side shoots back to half their length, this will induce fruiting spurs and a better crop the following year, try to summer prune every year from now on. Have a look at the great range of secateurs at Keydell, they do not sell cheap rubbish!

Sow seeds of indoor cyclamen in the greenhouse or even on a windowsill, they take a long time to germinate because they make a tiny tuber even before the first leaf can be seen, see if you can find a scented type. Yes, seeds were in stock when this list was written.

Stop watering indoor amaryllis, put the pot on its side somewhere indoors up in the sun. This will make the foliage die down. In October, the leaves are cut off even if they are still green and the bulb is then potted in the same size pot in DRY, not even moist but DRY John Innes number 3 compost, kept in the light with NO WATER until the fat flower bud emerges in February the following year.

Ensure azaleas, rhododendrons and in particular camellias are really moist at the roots, this will ensure the buds won’t fall off next spring. Premature camellia bud drop in spring is due to the roots being dry in August and into the autumn.

Lift main crop potatoes as soon as the foliage dies down, the longer they are left in the soil, the more slug damage will be seen. If you want to save time, cut the haulms down and remove the weeds, it is surprising how much time can be saved - oh and do this job on a nice day!

Do you have a tiny garden but would like to grow a few vegetables? Sow seeds of early carrots in a box about a foot deep in any branded compost, you will find exactly what you need at Keydell Nurseries.

If you feel a bit fed up and have not been out for a while, come along to Keydell, you will enjoy the experience. More spaces for disabled customers is very close to the entrance. Good clean toilets are just inside the entrance on the right.