Flowers everywhere are in full bloom at the moment and Head Gardener Jacqui has some wonderful advice on how you can harness their beauty for the rest of the summer and beyond.


The garden at Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville has not faltered in delivering the most beautiful garden over the last few months. The garden is now in its second year and over this time has become established, resulting in the best display yet!

This of course has been helped by this summer’s weather, as well as continual maintenance and care.

Here in the garden we have been creating a plant nursery of our key plants and now that the garden is more established there are plenty of plants for free in the garden, whether it be from late summer cuttings or self-sown seedlings.

Here are a few tips for the month of August in your flower garden…

Now is the perfect time for taking cuttings from; Salvia Amistad (see below left), Verbena bonariensis (see below right), verbena hastata and Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’ – all of which are growing very happily here in the garden.  They are very easy to take by following just a few steps;

• Choose some side shoots, without a flower, approximately 7cm in length.

• Peel them off the main stem with a heel on them.

• Place in a moistened plastic bag and try to plant as soon as you can. 

• Remove the lower leaves and plant five or so cuttings around the edge of a small pot filled with a well drained potting compost, then water.

• Ideally place in a propagator, or place a plastic bag over the top of the pot and cuttings, or just mist them two or three times a day. Keep them moist, not too wet, and in the shade.

• They will put out roots within a few weeks. Once the roots come through the bottom of the pot, it is time to pot them on into individual pots.

We also have tiny seedlings scattered around the garden from some of our established plants; such as Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’ Bronze Fennel and Erigeron Karvinskianus (see photo below).  Now is a good time, before the seedlings become too large, to place the seedlings in individual small pots in a well draining potting compost.

And, in your vegetable garden here is a tip from one of our volunteers, Julie…

Sow Florence Fennel – a bulbous edible fennel with a delicious distinctive aniseed flavour.

Direct sow seeds into well-prepared, warm soil. Sow the seeds in rows, approximately 1.5cms deep.  Florence fennel thrives in warm, sunny and moist conditions.  Remember to keep them well watered and protected from slugs with either broken egg shells or sawdust.  Feed every two weeks or so with a high potash feed.   

Continue to take time to really enjoy your garden – moments in nature are magical – allow them to lift your spirits!


We couldn’t agree more!