Shorter evenings and ripe blackberries ready for picking, are my gentle reminders that autumn has arrived at last – the season of harvesting and preparing for the winter to come.
The best bit about September is that we have the whole of autumn to enjoy yet though and autumn can be lovely – gardens are spectacular with the fiery colours of Crocosmias, Heleniums and Rudbeckias – startling against pale Asters and the late flowering Dahlias and Cosmos.
Gardens are full of colour –and butterflies and dragonflies and frogs. You might even be lucky enough to spot a snake or hedgehog!
This is the perfect time now to collect seeds – either for sowing next year or for sowing now.
My memory isn’t as good as it used to be so I like to collect my seeds and sow straight away – I love a more naturalistic look to gardens so I sow in drifts across the flowerbed. I tend to keep patches of wild flowers towards the back of beds, I love the bouts of colours from tall poppies and ox-eye daisies poking up behind roses and Delphiniums.
There are various ways of collecting seeds, you can tie paper bags over the ends of forming seed pods like poppies or you can keep a close eye on them and when they rattle, cut them off and sprinkle away in your chosen spots!
Lupins and sweet peas I pick off like pea pods, shelling out the seeds and storing them for when I get a chance to sow them in pots in the greenhouse. You can start sweet peas off now indoors, ready for next year, it gives them a bit of a head start in flowering next year.
As you’d expect, preparing for winter means a lot of work in the autumn as there is a balancing act between keeping on top of deadheading, planting, watering and lawn mowing as well as cutting back, sowing seeds and dividing. It’s a time of year I like as there are so many varied tasks and the days are still warm and full of colour and life.
Jobs for September:
- Cut back brown and decaying foliage of perennials
- Divide plants after flowering like Phlox and Asters and Daylilies
- Keep tying in climbers
- Ease off feeding plants
- Plant shrubs and trees
- Plant up winter bedding
- Keep pots and hanging baskets well watered
- Collect seeds
- Remove pests, as we can expect more rain we can expect more slugs and snails!
- Weed, weed, weed!