Dealing with virus:
Lilies are prone to virus. Once a plant is affected, there is no cure. Look out for symptoms - deformed leaves and twisted or missing flowers - and insects like aphids and greenfly which spread the virus. Uproot an infected plant immediately and destroy it so that it cannot infect the others.
Watch out for soft rot:
If irises show signs of rotting at the base of the outside leaves, check your soil is draining properly. If the soil is too wet, damaged rootstock can be invaded by bacteria, which attacks rhizomes and leaves, causing them to rot. You can smell the decay. Destroy the plant immediately then lighten the soil to improve drainage for any other irises.
Beware of scorching:
Iris rhizomes protrude above the soil's surface and, because they are exposed, they are prone to damage. When mulching or top-dressing with animal manure, avoid covering them with organic material, even if it is well decomposed, as this will cause scorching.
Beautiful flowers staked:
The weight of large dahlia blooms often causes the stems to bow down to the ground and snap. Three bamboo canes, inserted in the ground in a triangle around the clump and ringed with string or raffia two-thirds of the way up, will hold the foliage and flower stems together. Position stakes before planting to avoid damaging the tubers.
Disbud your dahlias:
To get the biggest blooms, remove secondary flower buds, leaving just one bud on each stem. If you are worried about losing your only flower in bad weather, disbud every other stem to still enjoy a dazzling display.
Bank up your gladioli:
If you cannot stake gladioli or plant them in dense groups, build up a small mound of soil at their base to support them or plant them in a sheltered area.
The large-flowered hybrids are striking everywhere but are particularly effective in big flower beds.
These beautiful bulbs are easily naturalised in most settings and will form a magnificent carpet of flowers under the foliage of trees.
With its long lasting pink flowers nerine is an attractive sight in autumn. They do well next to a warm wall.