I always feel that September is a time for reflection. To consider what has been successful with the spring and summer season and what has gone wrong. Also to consider what was attributable to my mistakes and what I can genuinely put down to external factors over which I had no control.
Now you might think I am going to blame the weather for any disasters and to an extent you would be correct because my biggest problem has been slugs and snails, I use a very effective organic control but their numbers this year have been beyond belief and they have munched their way through everything from dwarf beans to dahlias.
This has been a good year for listing everything they haven’t touched. The silver lining so far has been the notable lack of cabbage white butterflies and so the autumn and winter brassicas are looking good, so too the leeks which have enjoyed the ground water and rain. All the summer root vegetables have also been successful. The runner beans were late but ok. The slugs got them too and so did Henry the labrador who takes the ones he can reach!
In the flower garden much has been knocked over or spoilt by the rain and it has been very sad to see so many hanging baskets looking so sorry for themselves, especially those exposed to the weather.
However, take heart!! With last year’s hot spell and this year’s wet we have monitored the success or otherwise of summer bedding and the only plants that have really been totally unaffected by both are the begonias (all varieties) and the white bacopa. So guess what I am recommending next year! My
begonia baskets have stood on the top of the hill at Trewartha and taken everything coming to them and still look fab and the bacopa is a carpet of white everywhere. When the begonias are over I cut off the stems and leave them in their pots in the tunnel on their side to dry out.
It is worth taking rose cuttings now. Look for a strong healthy stem. Cut it off low down on the bush to about 9” long. Dig a narrow trench about a spade’s depth and put some sharp sand in the bottom and bury the cuttings to about 6”, leaving 3” above the soil. I have a very good success rate with my roses. Many species of rose come true from seed. Split open a rose hip and sow straight into a pot of compost and cover with grit. Keep cool and protected from mice.
Jobs for September:
Plant spring cabbage, it’s your last chance.
Lift and divide perennials
Collect and sow ripe seeds
Remove lawn thatch with a rake or scarifier and dig out perennial weeds and re-sow the patches
Plant bulbs for next spring and summer; plant at least twice the depth of the bulb size
Buy prepared bulbs like hyacinths for forcing for Christmas, it’s only 16 weeks away…….