Summer’s nearly over, but that doesn’t mean work stops in the garden. September is a great time to give it a tidy up, especially after the kids have been causing havoc in it all summer!
So dig out your gloves and get ready to tidy up the borders, rake the lawn and cover the furniture and BBQ for winter.
When it comes to the fruit and veg garden, things are quieter now than in the summer – but there are still plenty of crops to harvest and new fruit to plant. Read on to find out what else you should be getting your green fingers on at this time of year…
September is the best month to get the lawn back into shape ready for next year, and to prepare it for the rigours of the winter weather. Good autumn lawn care will help prepare patches caused by problems such as diseases, moss and weeds. These problems usually develop on lawns that are already weakened by poor conditions such as waterlogging or drought.
Start by raking the lawn thoroughly (scarifying) with a spring-tined rake to remove all the accumulated dead grass, moss and other debris.
Aerate the lawn if required, then fill in the holes with a lawn top dressing and work it in with a stiff brush or back of a garden rake. Once this is done, apply a granular autumn lawn fertiliser. This’ll thicken and harden up the grass ready for winter. If weeds and moss are a problem, treat these too. If you have lots of gaps or patchy growth it pays to re-seed them with a suitable lawn seed mix.
As soon as the summer bedding starts to look a bit scrappy, remove and replace with winter-flowering pansies, polyanthus and primulas, wallflowers, sweet William and bellis daisies.
Plant now to give the plants time to establish. When winter hits us, the bigger the plants are the better they’ll perform. If you can’t plant them directly into the ground yet, pot them up and plant out as soon as you can.
Sow hardy annuals (such as calendula, centaurea, limnanthes and poppies) where you want them to flower in the garden. If you’ve got heavy clay soil, you may get better results by sowing under cover in containers/trays and planting when they’re large enough to handle.
Containers and patio plants
Don’t neglect your summer hanging basket and containers – deadheading, correct watering and good feeding now can keep them going until the first severe frosts of autumn.
Once summer patio displays are past their best, replant with spring-flowering bulbs, winter heathers, dwarf evergreen shrubs and conifers, trailing ivies and spring-flowering bedding plants.
Trees, shrubs, roses and climbers
Autumn is the best time to plant just about any hardy shrub – including roses, climbers and hedges. The soil will still be warm, meaning the roots will establish quickly. Shrubs that are borderline hardy are best left until spring. Make sure the soil is well prepared with plenty of added organic matter – such as well-rotted manure, compost, composted bark or tree planting compost.
Climbing roses can be pruned once they have finished flowering; sideshoots from the main framework of branches can be cut back to a couple of buds.
Late-summer flowering shrubs such as helianthemum (rock rose) can be lightly pruned or trimmed back in September. Shrubs normally pruned hard in the spring – such as buddleia and lavatera – can be cut back by up to half now, to prevent wind rock and neaten their appearance.
Give evergreen hedges a final trim early on in September to make sure they’re in top shape for winter.
Plant spring-flowering bulbs
For months of colour from winter to late spring, you can’t beat the value of spring-flowering bulbs. There are so many to choose from and they come in all colours of the rainbow. They’re incredibly versatile – there are types for growing in full sun or shade, beds or borders, and containers or hanging baskets!
As well as the standard favourites – daffodils, tulips, crocuses, snowdrops and hyacinths – there are lots of other bulbs to choose from, including Muscari (grape hyacinths), Chionodoxa (glory of the snow), Cyclamen, Scilla and Ipheion.
Planting now will reap rich rewards next year. Always buy top quality bulbs as these come with their flower buds ready and waiting inside and are guaranteed to flower in their first year.
Spring-flowering bulbs also tend to more-or-less look after themselves, as long as they’ve been planted properly, so they’re great for people who don’t have much time to look after their garden… we know a few of those!
Our best advice is to plant them deeply. The correct planting depth will be displayed on the pack when you buy them, but as a general rule of thumb plant with twice their height of soil above them; some will do better when planted even deeper. We’ve got everything you need to keep your garden in tip-top condition throughout the autumn and winter and into next spring. Pop into your nearest store, or visit our garden section online at wilko.com.
September Check List
- Aerate lawn and brush in sand
- Prepare new lawn areas for next year
- Tackle moss
- Prepare Christmas flowering bulbs
- Protect autumn fruit from birds
- Continue to harvest
- Start tidying herb gardens
- Sow parsley seed
- Continue to sow leafy salads
- Clean out the guttering
- Install water butts