IN September autumn begins to come into the garden, the autumn crocus appear under the old apple tree and the work is mostly tidying up and dead heading and deciding what should be moved to look better somewhere else!
• Tubs and pots are beginning to look a little tired and pansies I’ve cut back haven’t all grown up again as expected. Some tubs could be replanted with evergreens for the winter with euonymus, vincas, holly or heather, under planted with bulbs like crocus, iris reticulator some of the lovely dwarf tulips and narcissus. As an alternative plant sempervivums (house leeks) in large pots, plant fairly close together in free draining soil - such as John Innes No. 1 - place in a sunny spot. Keep fairly moist until established but afterwards they will stand periods of drought.
• Now is a good time to collect cuttings of your osteospermum, fuchsias and pelargoniums. Take non-flowering side shoots, remove lower leaves and cut beneath a leaf joint, dip into rooting power or liquid and insert into pots with a gritty compost. Water and cover with a plastic bag, put into the greenhouse or on a window sill.
• Prune rambler roses, cut back all the long shoots on the wisteria and cut back perennials that have finished flowering.
• There is still time to trim your lavender bushes; trim the top of the season’s growth to encourage the plant to stay bushy.
• If you are thinking of growing hyacinths in pots for Christmas, now is the time to plant them; specially prepared hyacinths will be available now.
• Crops to sow in early September include hardy spring onions, lettuce and salads.
• Sow parsley in pots now for picking in winter and spring.
• Plant garlic in the autumn and plant out rooted strawberry runners into their new bed.
• Cut down raspberry canes once they have finished fruiting.
“Enjoy the summer while it lasts. Treat your master well if you happen to be a servant; treat your servant well if providence has made you a master. Be thankful to Heaven for the blessings of health, strength and freedom; and remember that a gardener’s work is never done.”
This is the last paragraph in a Victorian gardening book called ‘The Kitchen Garden’ by Eugene Sebastian Delamer written in 1850.