“By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.”
– Helen Hunt Jackson, September, 1830-1885
September is a splendid month, often combining the best of summer with the best of autumn. Let’s hope for sunshine and pleasant warmth combined with the start of fabulous autumn colour and a bumper harvest from our fruit and veg plants.
September colour comes from dahlias, echinaceas, ruddbeckias and sedums whilst grasses and seed heads add interest and movement. Tender veg will still be cropping, onions will be drying, and apples will be ready for wrapping and storing. Throughout summer we’ve enjoyed food fresh from the garden. Now is the time to squirrel things away for the less productive months ahead.
The days will be shortening and the temperatures dropping so it’s time to move houseplants back indoors. Depending on where you live, other tender plants will need taking under cover and do check that your fleece hasn’t been decimated by mice over the summer! You’ll be needing it soon for frost protection.
Faded summer bedding can be removed now to make way for spring bulb planting and for those winter flowering pansies, bellis and polyanthus. Other jobs to fit in this month include:
- September is a good month for repairing or for starting a new lawn from seed. Suttons Self-Repairing Lawn Seed is the perfect all-in-one solution, self-repairing in just 7-10 days.
- Before leaves start to fall, place netting over your pond. Do please check the netting regularly to make sure no frogs or newts are trapped.
- Now is a good time for planting new perennials and for moving existing ones. The soil is still warm and the autumn rains will help the roots to establish.
- Continue picking tomatoes, courgettes, beans and other tender veg. September is pickle and chutney making month, or perhaps have a go at fermenting your veg, using a Kilner Fermentation Set.
- Order and plant spring bulbs, there’s always room for a few more! Consider planting in an area where the bulbs can be left to naturalise. Remember that the planting hole needs to be roughly three times the height of the bulb.
- To maximise on reducing light levels remove all shade paint from your greenhouse glass and give the glass a good wash, inside and out.
- Order sweet pea seed now for sowing in October. Growing a few different varieties will give you a mix of colour, stem length plus fabulous scent.
- Plant autumn onion sets, shallots and garlic for an early crop next year.
- Towards the end of the month plant indoor bulbs to force for Christmas flowering. Choose bowls with no drainage holes and use specialist bulb compost as this will encourage root growth and control moisture levels.
- Some hardy annuals can be sown now. Protect over winter and your reward will be strong, early flowering plants next summer.
Christine’s Patch – Autumn & Spring Flowering Bulbs
Hi, I’m Christine Loader, Horticultural and Technical Advisor here at Suttons. I have been an avid gardener all my life and have a passion for growing Fruit and Vegetables. When I am not in my greenhouse I can usually be found on my allotment. Gardening has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I look forward to sharing my expertise with you in our newsletter. This month we’re looking at autumn and spring flowering bulbs.
August is the correct time to plant autumn flowering bulbs such as Saffron Crocus, Colchicum, Cyclamen and Sternbergia but if you have missed the planting time you can still plant in September for a later show of flowers or flowers for the following year. These bulbs will come back year on year. Saffron, a highly valued spice for its delicate flavour and powerful dye, is easy to grow. The leaves come up in September and when the temperatures start to drop in October, the flowers follow. It is the stigma that are collected and dried for the spice. The key for success is a well-drained soil in full sunshine and deep planting 15-20cm (6-8”). Not all bulbs may flower in the first year of planting.
From September and throughout the autumn it is planting time for all spring bulbs. Clear tubs of exhausted summer bedding and replenish with new compost, ideally a bulb compost or three parts of John Innes No 2 mixed with one part of grit. Add drainage to the bottom of the container and then compost and bulbs. Start with the biggest bulbs at the bottom, such as Daffodils and finish with the smaller bulbs further up such as Crocus and Grape Hyacinths.
You can naturalise bulbs in grassland and around trees to make them look like wildflowers but remember not to cut the leaves at least for 6 weeks after the flowers are finished or the leaves have faded. Plant in clumps of 10-15 bulbs to make a good impact and don’t fuss about even spacing, irregular looks more natural. Apply a little fertiliser after planting such as Fish Blood and Bone to replenish the soil with valuable nutrients.
As a rule, for all bulb planting, plant at least 2-3 times the depth of the bulb size. If a bulb measures 4” tall then it should be planted 8-12” deep but check the recommended depth on the bulb packets.
Happy digging and planting, knowing you are creating a joyous winter and spring garden to brighten up the dullest days.
These native Mexicans are invaluable for bringing late summer/autumn colour to our gardens. Related to sunflowers and chrysanthemums, dahlias come in a wide range of heights, flower shape and colour. Some varieties even have striking dark foliage that contrasts beautifully against the brightness of the blooms.
Easy to grow and great for containers and pots, dahlias are also good for cutting. Like sweet peas, the more you pick, the more they will bloom!
Check stakes and ties of the taller varieties. The flowerheads can be heavy and so the plants will appreciate support. Deadhead regularly and feed once a fortnight to maintain healthy blooms.
First frosts will blacken the foliage which can then be cut down. Lift the tubers, clean them of any soil and place upside down to dry. After a couple of weeks place the tubers in trays of dry sand and store in a cool, frost-free place until next April when they can be planted out. In mild areas, there is no need to lift the tubers, just cover the area with a mulch of compost.
The welcome increase in wildlife friendly gardening has resulted in our gardens being less tidy than in the past, with seed heads being left and the traditional “putting the garden to bed” clear up being much diluted.
Some plants will however benefit from a trim this month, whilst you can still identify the dead branches and stems from the living. Simply take a sharp pair of secateurs and snip off any damaged or dead material whilst creating an attractive open shape.
Plants to snip this month include:
Evergreen hedges Lavender Alchemilla Lonicera Jasmine
Summer Long Strawberries
Last Chance to Buy… Summer Long Strawberry Plants Collection
Our Summer Long Strawberry Collection has been a massive hit again this year. Not only have customers had a steady stream of delicious strawberries over the summer, their plants will also fruit into September and will continue to do so as long as the weather remains fair.
We still have a limited number of Collections available at the fantastic price of £14 for 12 x 9cm potted plants. Enjoy their fruits throughout September and then protect over the winter months to benefit from stronger, well developed plants and even bigger crops next year!
Don’t forget to protect your Strawberry Plants over winter
Looking to protect your Strawberry Plants over the winter? Take advantage of our Half Price and 3 For 2 Offer on Polythene Tunnels. Easy to erect and simple to store in spring, they are fantastic value for money!
Offer Of The Month:
270 Extra Value Plugs for £19.99 – Less Than 8p Per Plug Plant!
Create beds, borders and pots full of colour with a selection of some of our favourite winter bedding plants. These Extra Value Plug Plants are delivered at the perfect time to pot up and grow indoors or under cover for the first few weeks, so they’re well established before winter and will put on your best ever show!
Please note: Image for illustration purposes only.