September Tips & Advice
With summer on the wane and autumn just around the corner now is a good time to take stock of your garden. Look round carefully, note your successes and your failures, and plan alterations this month. It’s time to think of ordering those new roses, shrubs, and other plants that you need.
Despite the obvious benefits that container-grown plants have brought gardening, the autumn is still the best time for planting. The soil is still warm and the autumnal rains will get them established before the winter sets in, giving a good start for the next season.
September Tips for . . .
Carry on with bulb planting, particularly Crocus, Grape Hyacinth, Chionodoxa, Anemones, and Narcissi. Get the small rock garden bulbs in as early as possible. Plant Lilium regale, L. Candidum, and others as soon as available. Tulips however can be left almost until Christmas.
Late flowering perennials such as the Michaelmas Daisies (look out for the Novae-Angliae forms such as Aster ‘Alma Potschke’ these don’t get mildew and flower for weeks) together with the colourful Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia) will now be flowering. Those earlier flowering perennials should be cut down and material saved for composting.
Now is also the perfect time to move or plant evergreen and coniferous plants. When moving evergreens do make sure that you retain a good ball of undisturbed soil around their roots and plant them no deeper than the original depth. Firm them in well using your heel rather than the flat of your foot and water them in well, ensuring that the foliage is also wetted.
Rambler Roses should be pruned now, cutting away the old flowered growths and tying in the new shoots to replace them. At the same time, take the opportunity to replace any worn out supports. If you need a few more of these roses, cuttings can be made from the prunings. 15 – 19 cm (6 – 8 inch) lengths of firm shoots pruned just below and just above a bud are pushed into the soil for half their length. These will root and can be lifted and planted out the following autumn.
Penstemons should be pruned to half their size around this time. This will help to stop them rocking around in the winter winds and becoming loose in the soil. A final pruning to remove winter damage can be carried out in the spring.
This month is ideal if you want to create or patch a lawn using turf. It will establish very quickly, but do keep an eye on it during the winter and firm down any that may have been lifted by frosts. You can also sow grass seed now for a new lawn or patch a worn area. Divide the area into yard wide strips or squares as a guide to sowing, and lightly rake them into the surface.
Stop feeding fish in the pool as their movements become sluggish and put a net over the surface of smaller ponds to keep them clear of fallen leaves. It is a good time to divide marginal plants and replant them. Put the excess material on the compost heap and resist the temptation to dispose of it anywhere near natural watercourses.