Make the most of September’s sunny days as the days get shorter!
While you may not think there's much to do in the garden at this time of the year, it’s time to brighten up the garden for autumn and plant spring-flowering bulbs for next year.
- Continue to look after your hanging baskets by regularly deadheading plants, as well as feeding and watering when necessary. As the plants die back, think about replacing them with violas, pansies and other autumn bedding plants which will provide a bright display into the winter months.
- Give your outdoor space some autumn colour by creating autumn containers using a mix of flowers and foliage. Add autumn bedding plants such as pansies and cyclamen, and long-lasting ornamental grasses, or plants with interesting foliage and contrasting leaf shapes. Heuchera is the one of the most useful hardy evergreen foliage plants with a range of colours from yellows, to orange and dark purple. It’s ideal for adding a splash of colour to containers, borders and under shrubs and trees.
- Late summer flowering perennials continue flowering well into autumn and some until the first frosts. Rudbeckia is one of the most reliable perennials for late-summer colour, as well as penstemons, salvia and alstroemeria, whilst hardy fuchsias flourish well in a container. Encourage more flowers by deadhead. Divide herbaceous perennials once they have finished flowering, splitting them and replanting sections to increase your stock for next year.
- September is the perfect time to plant new perennials or shrubs, giving them time to get established before winter. You can also move items around the garden at this time of year, making sure you give them a good soaking of water on replanting. Potentilla, fuchsia and hydrangea are fabulous autumn flowering shrubs which will provide a pop of colour for years to come.
- Collect and store seeds from your garden annuals such as cosmos, nicotiana, geranium or violas which die at the end of the season. Gather on a dry day, putting into a paper bag or envelope to allow for the circulation of air and the drying out process. Keep the seeds in a cool, dry place with good ventilation and in around 10 days they will be dry enough to store in an airtight container. Be aware that the species may not grow true to type so if you want specific species choose from our large collection of seeds next year!
- Start planning for spring, by planting bulbs such as crocus, daffodils, hyacinth and iris in borders or containers to provide a beautiful display next year. Create a longer-lasting display by layering bulbs in a large container. Choose a container that’s at least 30cm wide and tall enough for three layers of bulbs. Cover drainage holes with crocks and add a layer of peat-free compost. For the first layer add late-flowering bulbs such as tulips or large daffodils. Cover these with compost so that just the tips of the bulbs are visible, firming it down as you go. The second layer should be early-flowering daffodils or hyacinths, add these between the tops of the bulbs below to allow room for them to grow through. Add more compost and position a final layer of smaller, early-flowering crocus, snowdrops or iris. Top up with a last layer of compost, place in a warm sheltered spot and keep moist. Look out for our special offer of 10% off our range of Woodlodge outdoor containers.
- If you fancy a hyacinth bowl for Christmas now is the time to buy and plant them as they need 6 to 12 weeks (dependent on the species) from planting to flowering. Plant in a bowl or shallow pot using peat-free multipurpose compost or bulb fibre if the pot does not have drainage holes. Arrange the bulbs in the compost, close together but not touching each other or the bowl, then add more growing medium until just their tops are showing. You can add decorative moss, gravel or glass chips on top but leave 1 cm below the rim for watering. Water lightly and evenly and place the pot in a cool dark place. Check weekly and only water if the compost is dry. When the shoots are 4 – 5 cm tall bring the pot indoors to a cool room away from bright light to allow the leaves and flowers to develop.
- House plants growth slows from September, as the days begin to shorten. Move them nearer to a south or west facing window and take plants into the room - off windowsills, where the cold air can chill them.
- They are happiest in a cool room with good natural light, where their growth will be slower but steady. Reduce the frequency of watering and check that the surface of the compost is dry before watering again.
- It’s time to bring tender plants that have been outdoors over summer indoors before the first frosts.
- Give your lawn an autumn treat! Whilst the grass is growing well and is moist it’s the time to do some general maintenance. Scarifying (raking out dead grass) and spiking to aerate the ground will improve the health and appearance of your lawn in Spring.
- Adding an autumn lawn treatment and reseeding bare patches will prepare your grass for winter conditions.
- Late summer is an ideal time to clip hedges, both to tidy the shape and prepare them for winter.
- If you are cutting back herbaceous perennials create a small pile of twigs, hollow plant stems and leaves as a winter shelter for insects and bugs. Alternatively, provide a bug hotel from our selection in store.
- If you haven’t been feeding the birds over the summer months, now is the time to start again so that they get used to the food being available for them during the winter months. Check out our special offer of 10% off all Tom Chambers bird feeders!