Things to do in the garden in September
With Sally Hammacott, Kingswood Voice's garden enthusiast
WELL, August flew by in a blur of changeable weather and we settle into the cooler month of September with the days noticeably shorter and autumn just around the corner. It’s time to plant spring flowering bulbs and harvest our crops.
Although summer may be fading try to prolong colour in your garden by regular deadheading. Plants like delphiniums, roses and dahlias can last well in to the middle of the month. Invigorate tired clumps of herbaceous plants by dividing and replanting and cut back perennials that are dying down. Start to think about bringing any tender perennials inside. If we have a dry mild September be aware that pests can linger on and powdery mildew can continue to be a problem. Rotting leaves can cause disease in the garden so remove them regularly to reduce the risk and do not compost any diseased plants or leaves.
Evergreen hedges can be given a final trim; try to cut hedges slightly narrower at the top than the bottom which will help protect them from snow damage and prevent dead patches at the base. Take semi-ripe cutting of evergreen shrubs like Ceanothus and virburnum.
Lawns can be mown less regularly and rising the height of cut can help resistance to tread damage as the wetter weather arrives. Apply an autumn lawn feed high in potassium after scarifying and aerating and then apply a top dressing. Carry out lawn repairs by applying seed or new turf.
If you have a pond, net it to prevent it filling with fallen leaves, top up water levels if required and remove blanket and duck weed. Cut back marginal plants. Remove dead leaves from waterlilies and divide waterlilies and other ponds plants.
Practise good garden hygiene by cleaning your tools after use, washing hands and boots. Give the garden a good clear out, raking and clearing away debris. Cut plants back to give them space and ventilation; overcrowded plants are more likely to become diseased; harvest in good time to reduce any fruit and vegetables rotting in the garden which can attract pests and diseases.
But most of all enjoy the lingering echoes of summer and the joy of sitting in the faded beauty of a late summer evening.
Sally's garden tips for September
• Net ponds, to prevent them filling with fallen leaves
• Make ready greenhouses and cold frames for autumn
• Collect and sow perennial and hardy annual seeds
• Dig up any remaining potatoes and store
• Cover leafy vegetable crops with bird-proof netting
• Plant spring flowering bulbs
• Plants out any spring flowering biennials such as foxglove and viola
• Maintain hanging baskets by deadheading, watering and feeding.