September’s a busy time in the garden


I can’t believe it’s September already. The summer has flown by, and we are now in the meteorological autumn, although I prefer to work on the astronomical system which means autumn starts on the equinox around 21st-22nd September, giving us another three weeks of summer. Very often we get a spell of warm, sunny weather at this time of the year and I think it’s a great time to be out in the garden. It is however a little cooler at night and first thing in the morning.

Jill and I have been back home after the main block of flower shows and have been getting on with work in the garden. The first phase of the front garden, including the new raised vegetable beds is complete and we’re now working on the side and rear garden. At the moment it’s mainly preparation work in cutting down old shrubs and a couple of trees that are dying, which has mean lots of trips to the local tip. I’ve also been busy laying foundations and building a 6ft tall wall around a new oil tank and storage area, which is now waiting for the plasterer to come and render it. Once that’s done I can lay the paving and create a small courtyard area.

In between working in the garden we’ve had a few days out, mainly to visit gardens. First was a trip to Gunby Hall near the east coast. I was last there around 20 years ago doing some filming for the BBC and it was good to see it again. A lovely old walled garden, some interesting trees and delicious cheese scones!

We’ve also visited the Secret Garden of Louth, which was amazing. It’s a private back garden full of exotic and tropical plants created by the owners over the past 30 years. It opens for the NGS, so if you are ever in Lincolnshire, it’s well worth a visit.

Later this month I’ll be working at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show at Newby Hall and after that it’s down to the Malvern Autumn Show where Jill and I will be giving talks and demonstrations on the Potting Shed stage. You can follow what we’re up to on Instagram … Potting Shed stage

Jobs for September

Although we’ve had some showers over the past few weeks, the ground is still dry in places, so make sure that any newly planted shrubs or perennials are given an occasional soak to help the roots establish.

Now is the perfect time to plant spring flowering bulbs such as daffodil, crocus, snowdrops, iris etc., but not tulips. Make sure when planting, the bulbs are planted three times their depth.

1 Spring bulb planting - web

Later in September is the traditional time to sow grass seeds for new lawns or to repair worn patches. The soil is still warm but wait until we’ve had rain before sowing to ensure fast germination.

Carry on feeding plants in containers such as agapanthus and other perennial flowering plants with a high potash fertiliser. This will help to initiate flower buds for next year and it induces winter hardiness.

Give hedges their final trim of the year to keep them in shape for the winter. Ater the end of August trimmed hedges make little or neo new growth until next spring.

Keep dead heading roses to keep them flowering for at least another month until it’s time for their autumn prune.

1 Deadhead roses web

If you intend to collect seed from annuals and perennials, now is the time to do it. Collect and dry the seeds in paper bags and store in a cool place over winter.

Carry on feeding tomatoes with a high potash fertiliser to help the fruits ripen through autumn and remove some of the lower leaves from the plant.

Towards the end of September, plant spring cabbages in the garden for a crop next April.

Make sure the long new season’s growth on trained apple and pear trees is cut back to two or three buds, to create fruiting spurs next year.

1 spur pruning apple web

If you grow courgettes, but want a few marrows for autumn dishes, leave a few courgettes on the plant to develop into marrows and allow them to fully ripen before harvesting at the end of September or early October.

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Happy gardening

 Martin Fish