IT IS very hard to believe that we roll into September in a few days, Autumn already. Despite the restrictions placed on us all and being holed up at home and in the garden for the last six months, it still seems to have gone by quite quickly. Looking good in my garden this week are several pots containing oleanders. They can give your garden a lovely tropical feel. Also called Nerium, they are eye-catching evergreen shrubs and are one of the UK’s favourite and easiest to grow exotics.

The funnel shaped blooms flower through the summer and well into the autumn, followed by fascinating bean-like seed pods. I’ve got five containers of them now, two red, one pink and two white. This attractive shrub makes a superb specimen and can also be used to create an attractive hedge. In cold areas, grow oleanders in containers on the patio which can be moved to a protected position during the coldest winter months.

Most are hardy down to -6°C but I always protect mine through the winter months in a side alley with perspex roof. You need to take care when handling oleander as contact with the foliage may irritate the skin and they are toxic if eaten. You can lightly prune them in late spring to remove any shoots that spoil the shape of the plant. Reduce the stems to fit the available space, and remove any damaged, crossing or wayward stems. If necessary, oleander plants will tolerate occasional hard regenerative pruning. Deadhead faded oleander flowers regularly to prolong their display but take care to wear gloves and long sleeves when pruning.

Listen out on Sunday, I’ll be on BBC Radio Sussex, talking about the gardens opening for the National Garden Scheme in September. I’ll be chatting to Joe Talbot about 1.20pm, and there are quite a few to mention across Sussex.

I have plenty of fuchsias throughout my garden. Now is a good time to take cuttings from them. Make sure you choose healthy stems and remove a seven cm-long section from each with a sharp knife. Choose non-flowering shoots or pinch off the flower buds. Remove the lower leaves and side shoots, then cut cleanly below the leaf joint. Your cuttings should have one or two pairs of leaves. Dip the cut ends in hormone powder to improve rooting, make sure you tap off any excess powder. Fill a terracotta pot with seed and cuttings compost and insert the cuttings around the edge of the pot. Water and place in a warm propagator.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at