The days are gradually shortening this month but the soil is still warm. Now is the moment for reaping the rewards of all your hard work in the vegetable patch. There is an abundance of ripe crops and plenty to spread around friends, neighbours and charities.
Bulbs for the Autumn colour
Nerine bowdenii with bright pale pink trumpets are great for containers or sunny hot borders. Schizostylis coccinea grows showy little bulbs which really stand out with their bright red star-like flowers. Lastly, Colchicums, commonly known as Autumn Crocus or naked ladies as they flower with no leaves. They are great for borders or naturalising in lawns. Plant hyacinth and amaryllis bulbs for forcing, to ensure a crowd of colourful blooms at Christmas. Keep them in a dark, cool place like a shed or garage and bring them indoors when the shoots are 5cm tall. Perfect for a homemade Christmas present!
Bulbs for Spring colour
The garden centres now have the bulbs in stock. The selection is amazing and with careful thought you can have bulb colour in the garden from February to April. There will then be the early flowering plants to take us up to June. Then the real colour blast starts and takes over.
If you have Acers hardy Fuchias or Hibiscus, then here is a good place to underplant with extra bulbs while there is no foliage in the Spring to obscure them. Read the labels carefully as most bulbs like to be planted quite deep to get the best results. Sometimes 4 times the depth of the bulb.
Perennials for late summer colour.
There are a good number of perennials out this month. The Phlox, Japanese anenomes, Cosmos, Echinacea, Helianthus, Rudbeckia, Penstemons plus many more.
Flowering shrubs for colour.
Hibiscus are out now and there are some very pretty decorative varieties. The syriacus Maike with showy pink flowers and darker centres and the larger Eleonore with single white flowers.
The Canna come to mind as good examples of showy colour too. Canna flowers are typically red, orange or yellow and can survive in winter if they are kept in a warm environment. Canna are grown from rhizomes (underground stems) and need lots of sun to perform at their best. They like being dead headed to encourage continued flowering.
Dahlias grow from tubas and have a number of flowering groupings. There are Singles with single petals around a central disc, such as Joe Swift, white petals and a yellow centre. Then there are Cactus dahlias with spiky petals. The Pompon ones have spherical blooms with amazing regularity in their design. Also Waterlilly, Anenome, Decorative and Collarette. Anyway you get the picture. Lots of colour late season! They are also great as cut flowers for both colour and structure. A word of advice, watch out for the earwigs that like to come out to feed at night.
Ceratostigma wiimottianum is a great little shrub with beautiful blue flowers at this time of year.
Salvia is a diverse plant with hundreds of varieties. At this time of year you will still see a good showing of the hardy shrub. Hot lips – red and white, Lady in Red – pure red, Amethyst purple and white. As salvia is part of the sage family a lot of varieties are hardy, but you will also see the shorter lived. Amistad has tall stems topped with deep purple flowers, and Blaze of fire are vivid red bedding salvias.
Bees and butterflies.
The last of the lavender, buddleia, hydrangeas and jasminoides still attract these wonderful garden visitors.
Late flowering colour.
Sedum flowers late and Roses will often flower until the first frost. I use heavy dead heading of roses to start the process of reducing the windage of the roses before the winter storms.
This is a good time to sow rocket and salad and to dry herbs like Oregano, Sage and Mint. The more tender herbs like Basil, Mint, Dill and Coriander are best potted up later in the month and brought in under glass before the chilly weather arrives. Alternatively place them in pots on the kitchen window sill.
The latter half of September is the ideal time to scarify a lawn. After killing any moss and before applying an autumn lawn feed. Use a spring-tine rake to remove excess thatch. This will help your lawn produce a better, deeper root profile. Autumn lawn feeds are low in Nitrogen but have higher values of Potash and Phosphate which promote root growth. All this effort means that your lawn will be in better shape to face the rigours that next summer may throw at it! If you do not feel confident in doing this yourself, get in touch with us at Gardeneer as we are always pleased to help.
JOBS FOR SEPTEMBER
Start the autumn clean-up. Remove any old crops that have finished and clear away weeds to leave your plot clean and tidy for the winter.
Divide your herbaceous perennials. This will keep your plants healthy and vigorous year after year and multiply your stock.
Net ponds now before autumn leaf fall gets underway to reduce the amount of debris entering the water.
Clean out cold frames and greenhouses ahead of autumn sowing and growing.
Plant spring-flowering bulbs now, such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinths, for glorious colour next year.
Plant out any biennial plants sown earlier in the year. This includes foxgloves, wallflowers and violas.
Plant new perennials, trees and shrubs. Now is a good time as the soil is still warm and increasing rainfall should be on its way.
Deadhead your penstemons, Dahlias, Roses and other perennials that are still flowering, to keep flowers coming.
Try freezing, drying, pickling and storing fruit and vegetables so that you can benefit from them later on.