September is generally a cooler, gustier month than August, with days noticeably shorter. While there’s not as much to do in the ornamental garden at this time of the year, if you have a fruit or vegetable patch you’ll be busy reaping the rewards of harvest.
It’s also time to start planting spring-flowering bulbs for next year. Make the most of the remaining warmth while you can!
Things to do…
Flowers – This is a good time to plant new perennials, especially towards the end of September, as the soil is still warm, but moisture levels are increasing.
Don’t neglect hanging basket maintenance – a little deadheading, watering, and feeding can keep them going until mid-autumn. Once they are past their best, re-plant as winter/spring hanging baskets with spring-flowering bulbs, winter heathers, trailing ivies and spring-flowering plants.
Now is a good time to divide any overgrown or tired-looking clumps of alpines and herbaceous perennials such as crocosmias. This will invigorate them, and improve flowering and overall shape, for next year.
Herbs – not only do they add texture and fragrance to a garden and your cooking but also they offer decorative qualities in the landscape.
A practical way of growing herbs is in a formal herb garden with beds dissected by paths. They also combine well with vegetables, encouraging healthy growth and discouraging pests and add interest and fragrance in flower borders.
September is the ideal time to take cuttings from your existing herbs such as bay, marjoram, mint, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme. These can be taken from late summer to early autumn.
Divide your hardy herbs such as sweet marjoram, oregano, mint, and thyme in spring or after flowering in late summer.
Trees and shrubs – If the weather is already autumnal, you can now plant and move shrubs and trees without having to worry to much about their survival and establishment. Shrubs planted now will get off to a flying start next spring, as they will have had all winter to settle in.
Climbing roses can be pruned once they have finished flowering; side shoots from the main branches can be cut back to a couple of buds.
Clear dead leaves promptly once they start to fall, as rotting leaves can be a source of disease in the garden.
Lawns – Mow less frequently, and raise the height of cut as the growth rate of the grass slows down. This will help the lawn to withstand the last of the warm, dry weather, and also keep it resistant to treading as the wet weather arrives.
Ponds – Cover the surface of ponds with netting to stop fallen leaves from entering. Accumulated debris in the pond can encourage the growth of algae and weeds, which will eventually harm the fish by reducing available oxygen levels.
Top up water levels when necessary, particularly during warmer weather, and continue to remove blanket and duckweed.
Remove dead leaves from waterlilies as the foliage dies back. Now is also a good time to divide waterlilies and other pond plants to increase stocks or control over-vigorous growth.
You may need to thin out submerged oxygenating plants, as they can quickly build up and crowd the pond.
Structures – Fix leaky shed roofs before the autumn rain comes.
Make and repair compost bins so that they are ready for the autumn when fallen leaves will quickly fill them.
Clean and store away garden furniture when it is no longer in use.
Birds and wildlife – reuse your unwanted kitchen fat to feed birds with a ‘Fat Cake’ especially as we are not supposed to pour unwanted fat down the drain. Invest in a new birdhouse. The posh shed company has some beautiful editions to brighten even the darkest corner of your garden. Available in six standard opaque colours each with a removable cedar shingle roof for easy cleaning.
Bugs and creepy crawlies in the garden form an essential part of our ecosystem so it’s important that we help them out. So, why not make them a purpose built home? Open your own bug hotel or create a massive insect tower and your garden will be buzzing with all sorts of weird and wonderful insects in no time.