Gardening tips: plant hardy but exotic prairie gayfeather

<span>Photograph: gianpinox/Getty Images/iStockphoto</span>
Photograph: gianpinox/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Plant this Liatris spicata or prairie gayfeather is a grand addition to a late summer border or container scheme, with flower spikes of purple or white that look exotic but are tough and hardy. Sun and moist soil are best. Height and spread depends on your choice of cultivar (I love ‘Kobold’), but around 75cm x 50cm.

Visit this If your garden grows indoors, head to the Garden Museum in London tomorrow for the Houseplant Festival. There’s a plant swap, stalls and talks, plus a clinic to sort out your crispy calatheas and spindly succulents (disclosure: I’ll be answering questions). 11am-5pm, tickets £5 (

Dig this Compost heap looking a little, well, uncomposted? It’s time to get physical and turn it over, introducing more air to speed up decomposition. Check for slow worms, hedgehogs and other beasties first, then mix everything up with a spade or fork. If it’s slimy, add shredded cardboard.

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