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Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 14:36 UK
Get Colin Evans' gardening tips
By Colin Evans
BBC Berkshire

Camellias are versatile and colourful outdoor shrubs

It might be just at the last knockings of summer but still the sun shines and we have some very pleasant days.

These are especially good if you have lots to do in the garden.

What we do need though is some decent downpours of rain as the ground is very dry and I have noticed some late summer flowering shrubs look a little thirsty.

This is the time to make sure you are not neglecting to water your plants in borders and in tubs, troughs and hanging baskets.

Weeds and other plants will take valuable moisture form the soil so any plants which are either past their best or are unwanted should be removed to allow the other plants to benefit from the water below the soil surface.

Plant of the Week

Camellia X Williamsii 'Donation', a large double pink flower, is to my mind one of the most versatile and colourful outdoor shrubs. This hardy evergreen plant works well in either the open ground or in a tub planted in lime-free compost.

Place where there is no morning sun, so not towards the east, and the new buds should give a glorious display especially if the soil is kept moist and well composted. Just a little granular feed both in the autumn and the spring will ensure a happy and healthy plant.

Topical Tips

Sow sweet peas as they will be quite happy going through the winter and if sown now will give earlier flowering next year. Just find a dry sheltered spot and sow in shallow drill for best results and try the double varieties which in my view have the best perfume.

Give conifer hedges a last light trim before autumn sets in and add a slow release granular fertilizer at the base of the hedge to give a good boost of energy for a thicker hedge next year. Conifer hedges will dry out very quickly in the warm days at present so make sure the ground is kept moist near the root area.

Now is the time to buy spring flowering bulbs. The garden centres are full of them and they are now at their best as the suppliers have only just released the new stock.

Dig over the border area to be planted and plant the bulbs at least three times their own depth into the ground, the same being for bulbs to go in pots or troughs. Firm in the bulbs and cover with light layer of compost or leaf mould to keep the moisture in.

Happy gardening!

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