The golden days of Autumn are now here and as  the growing season ends, it is the perfect time to collect seeds ready to plant next year. If you have never tried collecting your own seeds, now is the time to give it a go. Collecting your own seeds is satisfying and saves you money too. Some gardeners feel that it is an advantage to have seeds from the plants that do well in their garden as over time, the plants may well have adjusted to local growing conditions so the seeds will be stronger and thrive better..


autumn the seasaon for gathering seeds

Artichoke flower head

Seeds are stored by different plants and trees in different ways including berries, capsules, cones and pods. The seeds are usually ready for collecting about two months after the plant has finished flowering. Collect the seeds carefully and only gather them from strong, healthy plants. With a few exceptions (such as hellabore), most seeds cannot be planted straight away as they need time to mature.


There are two types of seed that can be collection. Dry seeds from flowers, shrubs and trees and wet seeds that are collected from over ripe fruit.

Here are some 10 tips for successful dry seed collection:


1. The best time of day to collect dry seeds is first thing in the morning on a dry day.  If there has been a rainy spell, leave it a couple of days to ensure the seeds are dry.                                                                          

autumn the season for gathering seeds

Rea seeds are easy to prepare


2. Don’t be tempted to collect the seeds until they have ripened. Immature seeds will not germinate. Having said that, a few seeds are best gathered when they are green and immature and these include anemone and calendula.


3.The sign that seed pods are mature is that they will have changed from green to brown, red or black in colour. If the pods have not opened on their own, gently squeeze them to release their seeds.


4. If you are collecting seeds from a seed head, cut the seed head off its stalk using a sharp knife. Carefully place the seed heads on a tray and place the tray on a sunny windowsill to dry.


5. Some types of seed head do explode to disperse their seeds, so it is a good idea to check them each day. Alternatively you can store the seed heads in a paper bag in case they explode or shake them over a tray to release all the seeds.


6. If the seeds you have collected have chaff on them, clean this gently off them as this can cause the seeds to rot.


7. If you enjoy growing vegetables, it is easy to collect seeds from many different vegetables including broad beans, runner beans, squashes and tomatoes.


8. Before you pack the seeds away, make sure that they are in perfect condition.


9. Once you have gathered and checked each type of seed, put them in individual envelopes, clearly marked with their name and the date you collected them.


10. The envelopes must be carefully stored in a sealed container with some silica gel for absorbing any moisture. Place the container in a cool, dry place as the seeds will last longer. The ideal temperature for storing seeds is 5- 6ºC. Some seeds, such as walnut, oak and magnolia need to be stored in a damp environment such as in a plastic bag with damp sand.

…and 5 tips for successful wet seed collection:


1. If you are collecting the seeds from aubergine (eggplant), peppers, courgette (zucchini), pumpkin and squash, simply remove the seeds, rinse them in water and then spread them out on kitchen paper or newspaper to dry.

A pumpkin contains plentiful seeds


2. Some wet seeds benefit from fermenting first. These include tomatoes and cucumbers. To ferment the seeds, place them and their pulp in a bowl, add enough water to cover. Cover the bowl with kitchen film and leave for 3- 4 days.


3. After this time, the seeds will look mouldy. Pour off the water, rinse the seeds in clean water and then spread on kitchen paper to dry for 7-10 days.


4. Once the wet seeds have been completely dried, they can be stored.


5. Wet seeds should be stored in clearly marked envelopes that are placed in an airtight container with some silica gel to remove all moisture. Keep the seeds in a similar cool dry place to the other seeds you have collected.


Swapping seeds with your friends is definitely a good way to increase your collection, but there are also seed swapping groups . ‘Seedy Sunday’ is the largest and longest running group that runs events all over the UK-

The Next Door app is another fun way to meet like-,minded people for seed and plant swapping and even borrowing garden tools!

If you would like some further guidance about collecting seeds, take a look at these websites –

In recent years, bamboo has become very popular in the modern garden – both as a plant and as practical and attractive material for a range of garden furniture and accessories.

Give your garden some Zen


Bamboo is perfect for leafy privacy


Bamboo is certainly a popular choice as a plant as it is a tall, leafy, fast-growing evergreen that can be used as screening and also to add a Zen character to a bare corner of the garden or an al fresco dining area. The important thing to do some good research to ensure that you buy the right variety of bamboo plant and to ensure that you get a variety with very limited growth. It is worth carefully monitoring your chosen bamboo as many varieties grow fast and furiously and will soon take over your chosen area – and more besides.

To achieve the same results without all the challenges of growing bamboo, many home owners plump for artificial bamboo, this ensures that their bamboo always looks its best and doesn’t make a takeover bid on your whole garden!

There are many other great ways to add style to your garden with bamboo:

 Add a bamboo stick screen


A bamboo screen are versatile and can be decorated with lights and hanging plants


You will see bamboo screens fixed to balconies on flats, across net fencing in front gardens and in corners to hide wheelie bins! Screens made from bamboo sticks are cheap, practical and provide both privacy and camouflage really well. Bamboo screens can be used to divide your garden into different areas such as a children’s play area and vegetable patch.

Screens made with long thick pieces of cane are an excellent way to disguise a plain garage wall. Simply attach securely to the bare wall and it will add a lovely informal character to an al fresco dining area – especially if it is decorated with hanging containers with colourful flowers and trailing plants plus a string of fairy lights.

Or edge your pathway


You can use rolls of short lengths of bamboo to decoratively edge your pathway and these can be easily obtained from local garden centres. If you enjoy DIY projects, you can cut large holes in the top of thick bamboo poles about one metre in length.. Place the bamboo at regular intervals along the path and feed white ‘nautical style’ rope through the holes to link the bamboo. This feature is a clever way to highlight garden steps too.

Make the bamboo a feature.


bamboo is great for garden furniture and as a backdrop

A really attractive way to transform a dull area in your garden is to build a raised flowerbed in the shape that suits the area and plant a real or artificial bamboo plant and a solar powered spotlight to highlight it at night – this design idea looks very attractive across a long bare wall or fence with three or four bamboos planted at regular intervals. Cover the soil with stones in your chosen colours and style (check out your garden centre for a great choice) and fix a solar powered light to highlight each bamboo. Alternatively, you can create an attractive reading corner with a backdrop of bamboo and an inviting looking seat!  The easy-care solution to having live bamboo in your garden is to choose the perfect artificial bamboo plant – none of your friends need ever know!

Choose stylish bamboo furniture & accessories

Bamboo furniture is a great choice for your conservatory as well as your garden. Choosing some stylish bamboo furniture will enhance your garden. Most items are supplied unvarnished so that they will weather over time. If you would rather that your furniture does not, you will need to varnish it with a varnish suitable for external conditions. To keep the furniture looking good, regularly warm it with warm soapy water.                                                         


Hang some fun insect houses made from bamboo

There is a good selection of bamboo chairs and low tables as well Japanese-style day beds. If you enjoy al fresco dining, a set comprising of bamboo table and chairs is perfect and can be complemented by a large bamboo sun umbrella, bamboo garden beacons andeven a set of bamboo coasters. You can develop the ‘bamboo theme’ with cushions and table mats in bamboo designs.

If you are planning a water feature for your garden, a bamboo water spout – ‘kakehi’- is a fun idea especially if matched with a stone basin (‘chozubachi’). This idea certainly creates interest even in limited spaces, such as on a balcony/verandah. Alternatively, you can create an interesting feature using a bamboo water spout for a stream or koi-filled pond. Other clever ideas include bird boxes and insect houses made from bamboo. 

Get creative with bamboo in your garden!

There are some really clever ideas for your garden made with bamboo and these range from unusual side gates to melodic wind chimes and garden lights. Bamboo really is a versatile and natural resource – no wonder it is so popular!

If you have a vegetable garden, bamboo poles are perfect for making growing frames and teepees for your cucumbers, tomatoes and beans. If you enjoy growing fragrant sweet peas, passion flowers and other climbers, once again, bamboo poles are ideal for making a trellis for supporting the plants. Bamboo can also be used for creating bird feeders and plant holders. For great inspiration –


Add a bamboo water spout or fountain

If you are looking for a new style for your garden that will set it apart from others, bamboo is the perfect answer as it is very eco-friendly. It is a really versatile material and whether you choose just a statement piece or a whole new theme, bamboo will definitely boost your garden design, in a lovely natural way. Unlike other materials, bamboo is easy to cut and is pliable and can be used for all types of DIY projects.

Bamboo is so trendy and affordable why not give your garden a boost in style this autumn?