“The goldenrod is yellow
The corn is turning brown
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.”
– Children’s song
September colour comes from dahlias, echinaceas, ruddbeckias and sedums whilst grasses and seed heads add interest and movement. And of course, September is harvest month.
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.
Hopefully you have already browsed through our selection of spring bulbs and winter bedding. If so, then your packages will be delivered soon. If not, there’s still time although some varieties may already have sold out.
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!
- 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 fibre 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.
Tips for Planting Spring Bulbs
As a rule, plant your bulbs at least twice as deep as their height. So, a bulb that is 5cm tall will do best planted at a depth of 10cm. The exception being tulip bulbs but we’re getting ahead of ourselves as tulips don’t like to be planted until November.
Plant your bulbs in ordinary plastic pots that will in turn fit inside your larger, more attractive containers. Then, when they’ve finished flowering they can be lifted out, leaving the container ready for summer planting.
When planting in deep containers, try layering your bulbs to create to bulb lasagne. Start with compost and then place the largest bulbs at the bottom, add another layer of compost and then the next sized bulbs. Repeat until you have the placed the smallest bulbs at the top, covered with a layer of compost. Even just 2 layers will give good flowering impact.
Bulbs don’t like to have damp bottoms (does anyone?) so make sure pots and containers have plenty of drainage holes. When planting direct in the garden choose a well-drained spot where the soil is rich with hummus.
When planting direct go for a natural look as opposed to planting in rows. The best way of achieving this is to gently roll a handful of bulbs over the soil and plant where they land.
If planting in a lawn remember that bulb foliage needs to be left to die down naturally. This will delay your lawn mowing activity so perhaps choose a spot where a clump of longer grass mixed with dying bulb foliage won’t look too bad. Alternatively, go ahead and mow, replacing the bulbs in the autumn.
Allowing bulbs to self-seed beneath trees and amongst shrubs means they will naturalise into drifts of stunning colour. Choose from cyclamen, snowdrops, crocus, anemone, fritillaria and daffodil.
To avoid digging the bulbs up by accident or worse, spearing them with a fork, do mark where they are planted.
Make planting easy and invest in a bulb planting tool. Both long and short handled versions are available. A bonus being that the correct planting depths are clearly marked.
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 begins.
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.
Now Is The Time To Repair You Lawn
As we near the end of an exceptionally sunny summer, your lawn may have been transformed from a lush green colour to a dry, brown expanse resembling coconut matting. Recent rain will certainly have helped your lawn to recover but with a little extra TLC, you can easily restore to its former glory.
In most cases your lawn will not have died during the summer months but will have simply become dormant. There is much more to your lawn than the green blades you see on the surface and what happens beneath the surface is incredibly important. Indeed, there are millions of micro-organisms beneath your lawn which are essential to healthy growth. With this in mind, here are our top 5 tips for reviving and restoring your lawn:
1) Irrigate your lawn thoroughly every one to two weeks. This is far more effective than more regular, smaller applications of water.
2) Use a Lawn Recovery such as Viano RHS Recovery to nourish the micro-organisms beneath your lawn. They will break down the feed and transfer nourishment straight to the grass roots.
3) Aerate your lawn to ensure that water and nutrients can reach the all important root structure. This is especially important if your lawn has developed ‘thatch’ or moss during the recent dry spell. Aeration will help the roots grow deeply to produce a stronger, lusher lawn surface.
4) Don’t leave it until spring – The advice of many professional Groundsmen or Greenkeepers is to start early if you want a good lawn the following year. Think of treating your lawn in September as ‘autumn training’ to ensure peak condition next Spring.
5) Only rake or scarify when your lawn is growing healthily. Removing thatch and moss is essential to a healthy lawn. However, if it is not growing well before you rake or scarify then it could result in a very patchy lawn surface.
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:
Shrubs (not spring flowering)
Plant of the Month
Autumn’s on the horizon, and it’s the perfect time to plant a border to be proud of. There’s no need to worry if you can’t decide which plants to opt for, as our Cottage Garden Perennial Mix makes it easy to get your garden one step ahead for next year.
Anything you plant during late summer will establish in the ground quickly before the colder weather sets in and will take off more swiftly when spring arrives. That means you’ll be treated to bigger booms and more flowers next year.
This beautiful selection of perennials will combine a mix of varieties, foliage forms, colours and textures to help create a striking cottage garden style display. All plants have been freshly grown ready so they’re full of vigour and ready to go!
We’ll be sure to include some late summer flowering varieties so you can enjoy instant colour, including Leucanthenum, Rudbeckia,Sedum and many more.