Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Home and garden: How to get rid of weeds and brighten your borders

© Shutterstock / alvantEchinacea purpurea.
Echinacea purpurea.

It’s time to get the m­easure of unruly weeds and invasive plants and start preparing for next year’s colour extravaganza, says Agnes Stevenson.

This week’s award for the worst weed in my garden goes to dock. It has large leaves, spikes of rust-coloured flowers and tap roots so deep they could out-compete most show bench carrots.

It sneaked in amongst the persicarias, with which it shares similar foliage, and now it has found its way into the peonies and through the agapanthuses.

I should have been on its case earlier but now I’m attempting to limit the damage by cutting off the flower spikes before they have a chance to cast their seed further around the garden.

I’ve been doing the same with the Alchemilla mollis, which is currently mounting a takeover bid. It is easy to remove but its growth habit is very prolific and it has found its way into every nook and cranny.

I wish I had the same problem with Japanese anemones. In many gardens these run rampant, but not in mine.

Three years ago I planted a single specimen and in all that time it has made no attempt to multiply, despite being given every encouragement, which is a pity because the borders have lost most of their early summer colour and some pink anemones would brighten them up.

Instead, I’ve decided to pass that job to Echinacea purpurea. I spotted this earlier in the week in the walled garden at Dumfries House, where it was the stand-out star amongst many lovely things.

It grows easily from seed and can be sown now and over-wintered under cover, so that’s what I’ve decided to do. I’ve sent off for the seed and will get it started before the days begin to shorten.

You can do the same with many perennials and annuals, sowing them now in readiness for being planted out in spring.

With the annuals it’s an easy way to get flowers early in the season and you can keep the show going by sowing more directly into the ground once the soil has warmed up. One packet should give you enough to raise plants over winter and still have plenty of seed to scatter in spring.

Top candidates for this treatment include cosmos, which can take a long time to flower from direct sowing, along with calendula, which is a magnet for pollinators if you stick to growing the simple forms.

Raising annuals or perennials is a better alternative than allowing a greenhouse to stand empty over winter. If you don’t have a greenhouse then transparent storage containers will do the job just as effectively.

Meanwhile, I’ve finished planting up the pyracanthas. I bought these at various times and they all produce berries of different colours, so when they finally smother the wall at the end of the patio they should deliver an autumn medley of orange, red and yellow. While not entirely tasteful, it will be cheerful and I don’t think birds feasting on them will be fussy.