September in the garden

Author: JM   Date Posted:31 August 2018 

September in the garden main image September in the garden image

 

The glories of Spring come and go all too quickly , and whilst time should be made to enjoy them preparations for summer and autumn  also need to get underway.

 

Perennials

 

Whilst we wait for some bulk to return to the garden - all those gaps need filling.

 

  • Any cuttings of shrubby perennials that were taken in the autumn can be potted on this month  ready for planting out in a month or so.
  • It will soon be time to take many other cuttings  in the perennial border so have  various sizes of pots scrubbed and filled with propagating mix in readiness.
  • If you are a keen propagator September and October are  your busiest months with all manner of seeds needing top be sown and potential cuttings clamouring to be taken.
  • Don't be too keen to sow seeds of perennials this month. Twenty two to twenty three degrees is the optimum seed-raising temperature, this needs to be a  fairly consistent temperature and September temps. are anything but.
  • Spring biennials , the likes of Iceland Poppies, Wallflowers, Stocks and  Pansies can do with a liquid feed to get them moving as temperatures climb.
  • Late Spring annuals  could do with a
  • Thinning poppies now will help them make individually larger plants which carry more flowers and for longer.

 

Shrubbery

 

       The sense of anticipation can be unbearable as we wait for the bounty of spring flowering shrubs.

  • Most of the hard work should have been done by now . If  pruning  was missed this past winter waiting now  until after flowering is the best tack there will be lots to do come November and December
  • Don't forget that cutting flowers for the house can be part of the pruning process - it just needs a considered eye as it is being done eg. lifting the canopy of Cornus or Magnolia can be  done as they come into flower over the next months  and used in the house.
  • Remember that any pruning of  shrubs that flower this side of Christmas will  cause flower loss - to it is best leave this job  until after flowering.

 

Hedges

  • The main thing for hedges over spring is feeding  and training.
  • New hedges should be trained using the formula of ' two steps forward one step back', or tip prune  on a regular basis.

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Lawns

  • The rapid growth of lawns  for the next month or so means that with mowing there is  a lot of goodness being removed - , slow-release or  liquid feed lawns towards the end of the month  as compensation.
  • Scalping the lawn is never a good idea - it only leads to weeds encroaching.
  • Little but often is always the best approach with mono-cultures.
  • If the lawn does get away a bit bring it down in stages , allowing it to green up between mowing  to maintain a healthy sward.

 

Bedding

Late-summer wouldn't be quite the same without a parade of  Cosmos, Zinnias or Marigolds. They are easy annuals for the unselfconscious gardener -  the embodiment of fun.

  • Whilst some may be a bit sniffy about them - it is the manner in which they are combined that can either exalt or demean them. - choosing varieties that aren't all necessarily 'Best in Show' will create a more refined effect. Divas always need a supporting cast to look their best and in the garden a retinue of smaller flowers used to enhance a few show-offs is a tried and true approach.
  • For those who still appreciate the na├»ve charm of pansies and violas in spring,  assiduously dead-heading them  brings its reward  in continuous flowering until the worst of the summer heat.
  • Biennials such as Wallflowers, English Daisies and For-get-me-not  will be getting a go on this month- a liquid feed will  keep them bulking up.
  • Paging through catalogues dreaming up flower schemes for summer  is this month's pleasure - all should be in readiness for the 'sow-a-thon' of late October and early November.
  • Many tens of thousands of tomato plants are lost each year because of premature sowing or planting out. The lesson here is be patient and not to jump the gun.when sowing seed for summer. Young seedlings will bound away without check if and when temperatures are to their liking and only sulk or worse when they are not.

 

Pots

 

The rewards for forethought will be obvious this month -potted bounty everywhere , but what of the months to come?

  •  Pots of Lily of the Valley are showing through the soil -  move to a  warm sheltered position where they can be enjoyed close-at-hand next month.
  • Pans of Iris reticulata  have been a joy these passed weeks - they now need to rest in a full-sun spot awaiting re-potting in summer.
  • Pots of Sarcococca confusa or ruscifolia can be bought into the house this month to cast their  fragrance about - they are quite good house plants for a month or so.
  • Scented geraniums held inside over winter should be re-potted this month in readiness for a growth spurt.
  • Pots of Freesia will be active by now and should be held in a frost free position or cold greenhouse.  5  Degrees C is the magic number any lower and they resent it.
  • Cuttings of scented  Geranium taken last autumn should be potted up  this month to get the best plants possible.

 

Cutting Garden

 

One of the  biggest issues of having a cutting garden is all that extra soil to keep weed free.

  • Mulched beds will need turning over this month  to  give them time to break down a bit more before planting in October and November.
  • Many crops can be grown using weed-mat under them. The secret is to burn holes ( using a gas-torch and  template) at regular intervals  through which you can plant your seedlings. It can be re-used endless times.   N.B.  Drip irrigation should be laid underneath the mat at 30cm spacings.
  • In areas which continue to receive frost  until November , Anemones and Ranunculus can be protected with 'worm cloches' from now on in to ensure perfect blooms.
  • Shrubs flowering this month which make useful cut-flowers are Chaenomeles ( Flowering Quince) , Almond  and Peach ( if you don't mind the mess) Sarcococca , Daphne, and Magnolia.
  • If your stored Dahlia crowns are looking a little dehydrated,  lay them in boxes of 'just damp' sawdust to plump them up a bit before splitting.
  • Ordering seed of tender annuals, if not already complete, is one of this month's pleasures.
  • One flower that needs an early start is Cobaea scandens -start on heat indoors to ensure plenty of flowers in late-summer.
  • Cuttings of scented Geranium can be potted on in readiness for planting out next month.

 

Kit

 

Have the following at the ready for spring  jobs

  • Potting mix
  • Lime, Iron-sulphate, Potassium-sulphate,
  • Blood and Bone
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Snail bait
  • Stakes and twigs  of all sizes
  • Twisties , string and Jolly Roger soft tie.
  • Netting  for climbers, ( Sweetpeas , Ipomaea, Cobaea, )
  • Tenax netting  as support in the cutting garden
  • Bamboo canes  in various sizes
  • Copper-sulphate  to deal with mossy lawns
  • Slow release fertilizer.

 

 

Irrigation

 

For most of us , summer is all about irrigation  and  any neglect of its infrastructure becomes  obvious only too quickly as the weather hots up.

  • Clean filters and remove nozzles . Flush lines whilst they are removed .
  • Have plenty of  'goof plugs' and connectors  at the ready  - an errant garden fork can turn into a flood just when you don't need it.

 

Tools

  • The mower man will be busy with everyone else's equipment  -  there's nothing for it other than to get in the queue.

 

Compost

  • As the weather warms so compost bins become more active - a fair bit of break-down of autumn and winter's additions will have taken place so jump on top and trample it down a bit to speed things up. Cover with old compost and a bit of lime to keep things sweet and start the new bin.
  • I always think separation of bins according to the season sensible - we have started our spring-summer one  which we will empty next spring this past autumn/ winter one will be emptied this coming autumn.
  • Keeping a balance of fine and coarse ingredients  is still important at every time of year - make sure plenty of air gets into the heap.

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