GARDENING TIPS FOR SEPTEMBER by Karen Aitkins
Do you remember, dancing in September, never was a cloudy day” sang Earth Wind & Fire in the late 70s. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, we remember only what we want to. September though, typically used to be a good month weather wise, sometimes called an Indian Summer due to its Native American links. This is the time for the harvest so very important it stays dry for farmers.
The air should start to feel fresher now and mornings will be heavy with dew, there will be a hint of Autumn in the air. In the evening the garden will come alive with daddy long legs or crane flies, their larvae lives under the lawn and they emerge to dance and find a mate at this time of year. They are totally harmless and make good food for our birds and great sport for our cats and dogs.
Late August early September is traditionally a time for taking cuttings from fuchsias and other tender perennials. Place them in pots and keep in over the winter. Now is a good time of year to look at purchasing a greenhouse to store all your cuttings or a small lean to on your shed. It gives you a start on next year and will save you money in the long run as you can grow from seed.
Growth in the garden will slow down, but continue to dead head and keep tidy. Bedding plants will start to look tired so can be removed and replaced with winter/spring flowering bedding plants. Evenings will noticeably draw in and start to feel chilly now but we can still have lovely warm days.
If you haven’t already got a compost bin, possibly make or buy one to start composting all the waste you will now get when you start clearing the garden. You can throw pretty much anything in it that is organic apart from woody or diseased matter which should be burnt.
If you need to move shrubs or trees this is a good time to do so as the earth is still warm and it gives the shrub a chance to recover before winter. Try to retain as much or the surrounding earth around the shrub as possible and water well to help it to re-establish. Making any new purchases for the garden is good now for the same reasons.
Cut down and divide tatty looking perennials, most will have gone past their best. It will make the borders look much tidier. A lot of perennials thrive on being divided each year but peonies hate being disturbed. Large perennials can be divided with a fork pushing into the centre and working it back and forth. Maybe you can swap or share with a neighbour to get a different assortment of plants.
If you haven’t already this is the last month to plant bulbs to flower at Christmas. At the end of the month you can plant bulbs for the spring such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinth. Daffodils and crocuses are particularly pleasing planted in turf and give early colour in the spring.
The garden will need a general tidy up before putting to bed for the winter, but it’s still not too late to enjoy and there is still colour and interesting things to do.