My goodness, the year bounds onwards towards Autumn and hopefully some of that lovely Indian Summer weather! We have certainly had our share of ‘weather’ this year … some of the coldest, wettest and hottest I can remember for a long time. All of which all makes for interesting times for gardeners. At home we had a singular failure with runner beans this year, but a massive glut of courgettes, and Andy has grown the biggest pumpkin ever! We are going to be running a competition as soon as it is ripe, to guess the weight of this giant, with proceeds going to Mad Men 2 Munich who are raising money for The Haemochromatosis Society, Force and Children in Need. The prize will be an Afternoon Tea for Two in our café. I do hope you will be able to support this truly worthy cause run by one of our lovely customers, Mark Holmes.
Sometimes we all need time for reflection, and I was lucky enough to take a couple of days off in August (short pause while you all get up again!). I rarely get to spend any time in my own garden, but I managed to wage war on the bindweed infesting my flower border. Actually it was quite therapeutic pulling yards of root out (is she mad!). Having found that I lost quite a lot of plants to the Beast from the East, I now have the opportunity to re-plant with some new things which is always very exciting!
September is also our main month for Trade Shows, which mostly means travelling to and from Birmingham to the NEC! I do love shopping! However, it does also mean that the Shop will soon be full of exciting new products and gifts! Something to look forward to …
Plant of the month
September is a great month for late-flowering perennials …
Japanese anemones are always a favourite. Tall and bold, their simple flowers in shades from pink to white really celebrate the season. They’re adaptable too, growing in sites from full sun to partial shade. There are some fantastic new varieties that have deep pink semi-double flowers which bring a vibrancy to a September garden.
Commonly called Ice Plants, the thick fleshy foliage of sedum varieties add interest throughout the year, from the moment it develops in spring. Varieties are available with foliage colours from green to grey and deep purple, and some with variegated green and white leaves look particularly impressive grown individually in small terracotta pots. Their flowers come in eye-catching colours from pure white to pink and red, proving as attractive to us as they are bees and butterflies. They are a valuable feed source too at this time of year.
Michaelmas Day is celebrated on 29 September and lends its name to one of the most valuable hardy perennials to flower through September and October, the Michaelmas Daisies. Many are varieties of the New York aster, Aster novi-belgii, but several other types of aster are available also. A succession of blooms gives asters long-lasting appeal, and they make great cut flowers too.
Why not try some in your garden …
Don’t forget our knife and tool sharpening service will take place again on September 5th. Drop your items into the shop any time beforehand, and pay on collection. Prices start from £1.50 for straight-edged knives to £5.95 for mower blades and axes. For more information please give us a call at the shop …
THINGS TO DO IN SEPTEMBER?
Start planting new trees, shrubs and climbers
- Stop feeding trees and shrubs in containers
- Feed camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas with a high potash feed for a better display next year.
- Clear out summer bedding plants
- Why not try taking cuttings of pansies and violas? They are easy to do and at the same time it will encourage more basal growth in the parent plant and help it keep a better shape and prolong the flowering period.
- If you haven’t already done it, trim back the old flowers of lavender. A regular trim (rather than a prune) will keep the plants in good shape and prevent them going too ‘leggy’ – never cut low into old wood.
- Start planting new perennials
- Start dividing overgrown perennials
- Support tall, later-flowering perennials
- Daffodils and crocus should be planted at the earliest opportunity. Tulips can be left until later
- Plant out spring-flowering biennials
- September can be a busy time in the garden – both vegetable and flower. If you want to save some seeds from some of your favourite plants, now is the time to do it if the pods are ripe. Choose a dry period to cut the pods and then store them in paper bags until the seed naturally falls from the pod. Remember to label the bag!
- Plant up containers with spring bedding
- If you are a dahlia grower, keep them well watered and fed and don’t forget to deadhead old flowers from stems that haven’t been cut for the home.
- If you have an earwig problem there are two things you can do. 1) Stuff a 9cm (3 1/2″) flowerpot with straw or hay and place this upside down on a stake or cane. The earwigs will inhabit this overnight and can then be removed the next morning. 2) Smear some washing-up liquid on the stem below the flower/bud.
THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO….
- Force hyacinths for Christmas
- Plant Autumn onion sets
- Sow Spring cabbages
- Plant new strawberry plants
GET IN FRONT….
- Sow hardy annuals to flower next year
- Dig over heavy clay soil before Autumn rains make it less workable. It may be beneficial to sow a green manure to overwinter your plot, or consider covering with old carpet or recycled black plastic to keep the weeds down. Your soil will also warm up more quickly in the spring.