SUMMER CARE OF ANNUALS
June should see allspaced out to the correct distances in their permanent quarters. A good rough guide is to space them out as far apart as they will be across when fully grown. Although they do not now require so much care as when they were tender , yet certain things must be done if you would reap the full reward of your early labours. Watering is necessary in the evenings if the weather turns dry, but better still—use the hoe. This keeps down and also aerates the and preserves moisture. Staking is another important piece of work. Most annuals, if they have been well grown from the beginning, will require little staking, being sturdy enough to support themselves. But slender plants such as Shirley poppies are better staked in case there is a rough wind and the whole display spoilt. A few twiggy branches pushed in amongst the stems will be sufficient to keep them upright and save damage. The taller flowers such as annual Larkspur need one or two stakes to a clump. The great thing is to stake early before the stems get twisted, and to conceal the stakes. Place the stake behind the shoot and put your twine first round the stake and then round the stem. Several spikes of smaller flowers can be tied to one stake with separate ties quite successfully. Never put just one stake in the middle of the clump and then run a string right round. The result is unnatural and ugly and the shoots have no chance to develop properly or show off their full beauty.
It is not always satisfactory to grow flowers from home-saved seed, but it is very interesting. The pods should be picked when almost ripe —in the case of some flowers such as lupins, the whole spike can be picked— and these are then spread out on paper in the sun. After a time the pods will burst and the chaff can then be blown away with a pair of bellows. Put the seeds into small bags and make a special point of labelling them, otherwise next year you may find you have sown sweetwhere you wanted blue lupins.