September gardening

A Touch of Autumn

It’s around this time of year that we get that first smell of Autumn in the mornings and realise that the Summer is over. The kids are back at school, and wearing winter uniform, and for them another academic year has started. For the gardener it’s also ‘back to school’ in a way. September is a great planning month – a time to reflect on any gardening successes and to think about what to do in the coming year.

It’s also a good time to look ahead and plan for Spring. From September to October you should be planting Spring bulbs particularly as 56% of people agree that daffodils in bloom officially mark the beginning of Spring, although nearly half (45%) of people mistakenly try to plant their favourite Spring flower in Spring when in fact Autumn is the key planting time. If you plant as many bulbs as you can get into the ground now, your efforts will be well rewarded with a great show come Springtime. A bulb planter is an essential tool for planting large quantities of bulbs in grass (and helps stop planting backache!). Simply insert it into the ground, lift out the clod of earth, pop your bulb into the hole, then replace the soil.

The joy about bulbs is that once planted you need do nothing else to them and you can choose old and new favourites to brighten up your garden as it leaves Winter behind. . With just one £50 National Garden Gift Voucher you can create a Spring floral display that will bring a smile to your face – daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips – and they are perfect for containers, in grassy areas of the garden or borders.

Another favourite for borders and one of the top ten herbaceous border plants is the Aster. The name Aster comes from the ancient Greek word for ‘star’, although they are often referred to as Michaelmas daisies because of their typical flowering period in the Autumn. Asters come in blue, purple, red, pink and white each with a yellow centre. There are numerous varieties of Aster, from dwarfs that measure less than a foot to tall versions that can reach up to eight feet. All varieties make for good cut flowers and are easy plants for beginners to try in the garden. They thrive well in drained, fertile soil that retains moisture and prefer full sun or partial shade. All Asters need protection in spring from slugs and snails.

September is when autumn begins to creep into your garden, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to let it all go to seed – keep busy with the following jobs and keep an eye out at your local garden centre for other Autumn related tasks as part of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) ‘Plan it, Plant it this Autumn’ campaign ….

Look after your lawn – weed it and seed it

Pick and harvest summer fruits

Bring tender houseplants inside

Continue to sow vegetables

Clear out the greenhouse

Collect and sow seed gathered from plants in the garden

Net ponds before leaf fall gets underway

Keep up with watering of new plants, using rain or grey water if possible

Plant spring flowering bulbs