September marks the beginning of the colder months as the Autumnal Equinox arrives. In the garden, we start to see leaves turn the vivid colours of autumn while vegetables come to the end of their growing season.
But this is by no means the end of the gardening season for another year. There are always jobs to do in the garden – here we give you a quick run through of tasks to do to start preparing your garden for the colder months:
In the flower garden:
- Cut back any perennials that have finished flowering and keep deadheading annuals as they appear
- Take cuttings of roses, geraniums, fuchsias, anthemis, lantanas, pelargoniums and hydrangeas to replant later on
- Collect seeds from hollyhocks, dahlias, lupins, crocosmias, lychnis, and nasturtiums to replant later on
- Carry on deadheading roses and tying back ramblers and climbers. Be sure to give your roses a feed and some water if they look like they are in need of it
- From mid-September, lift and divide perennials and be sure to water them well when replanting, and plant new perennials from cuttings or new plants while the soil is still warm
- Give your canes and supports a lookover and make sure they are still sturdy and serving their purpose
- Towards the end of September, start planting spring bulbs to make sure they are out in time
- Reseed your lawn and water if it necessary to make sure it is bright and luscious for the warmer months
In the vegetable garden:
- Pick your tomatoes, courgettes, and aubergines as they come to the end of their growing season, finish harvesting your potatoes, and start picking apples, pears, grapes and plums off of your fruit trees
- To extend the growing season of your tomatoes you can remove the leaves at the base of the plant to allow more sunlight through to the fruits
- Be sure to keep feeding your French and runner beans – these are also coming to the end of their growing season but need a little more time before you can harvest them fully
- Raise any pumpkins above ground level with boards to prevent them getting wet and remove any leaves so the sun can get to them and help them ripen
- Begin planting onion, spinach, turnip, radish, and leek seeds – garlic should be planted at the end of September
- Plant new strawberries and cut back blackcurrants, gooseberry bushes and raspberries
In the rest of the garden:
- Cut back flowering shrubs
- Cut back yew hedges and give your topiary one last trim
- Start bringing in any potted plants that are susceptible to frost and lift the hardier pots off of the ground
Once you’ve prepared your garden, take some time out to spend a sunny autumnal day visiting a few of the truly great gardens around the UK:
- Sissinghurst Castle Garden
Transformed by Vita Sackville-West in the 1930s Sissinghurst castle was a prison in the 1700s before turning into a family home for many years, boasting a 450-acre estate and panoramic views from the Tower.
- Chelsea Physic Garden
Founded in 1673 and set back from the Thames, this garden celebrates the beauty and importance of plants. It was set up for apprentices to study the use of plants in medicines but later became a centre for botany and plant exchanges.
- Great Dixter
Home to Christopher Lloyd, gardener and garden author, for 85 years Great Dixter House and Gardens turned into a central location for ideas and connections around the world.
- Hidcote Manor
Now an arts and crafts garden in the north Cotswolds, this garden was created by Major Lawrence Johnston, an American horticulturist, who designed the garden with outdoor ‘rooms’ in mind.
- Beth Chatto Gardens
Founded in 1960, Beth Chatto took it upon herself to transform an area of overgrown wasteland into a stunning informal garden using plants adapted by nature to thrive in different conditions.