The September garden

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As the days start getting shorter and the leaves blaze red and gold, enjoy the last of the good weather as you wind down the garden for winter. There’s lots to be harvested and plenty of planning to do for next spring.

Planting spring bulbs is the perfect antidote to the pre-winter blues, with the promise of dazzling displays in a few months’ time. Daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses and snowdrops can all be planted in September. Autumn is the ideal time for planting trees and shrubs, giving their roots time to establish over winter ready for new growth in spring.

Plants for an autumn garden

As days begin to shorten, we start to think of berries and autumn foliage colour – but this is also the season when an unexpectedly wide range of autumn-flowering hardy perennials start to come into their own. September brings the delightful late summer Hydrangea, which start to show a pinky green tinge on the petals.

Hydrangea ‘Wim’s Red’

When planning your autumn garden, foliage is the real star but don’t forget to incorporate berries as well for an additional splash of colour. Not only do they look great, they also provide food for wildlife. Autumnal tones of natural ochres, vibrant maroons and vivid reds from shrubs and trees can been combined with late flowering perennials for an added accent.

Planting tips

• When planning your borders always choose a selection of plants that flower at different times through the year so there’s always something colourful to enjoy.
• Plant taller growing autumn flowering varieties behind low growing summer ones so they’ll grow up above them once summer displays fade away.
• A small group of, say, three plants of one variety often looks more impressive than choosing three different things.
• Repetition works well in garden design. If you have a favourite plant then include several groups of it to help link different areas of the garden together.

Acers, or Japanese Maples, are renowned for their seasonal shades and come in many shapes and sizes. We have a vast selection of Acers available through the Big Plant Nursery that would compliment any garden. Changing colour week by week, some of our favourites are: Sango Kaku, Fireglow, and Emerald Lace.

Top gardening jobs for September

• Divide summer-flowering herbaceous perennials like hardy geraniums, salvias and hostas
• Keep on deadheading summer bedding and it’ll carry on flowering until the first frosts.
• Water camellias and rhododendrons regularly – next year’s flower buds are developing now.
• Net ponds before the leaves start to fall.
• Get started on autumn lawn care – scarify, aerate, top-dress and feed your lawn, and cut it on a higher blade setting as growth slows down for the winter.
• Raise pots on pot feet to stop them getting waterlogged and frozen over winter.
• Clean out greenhouses and remove shading to make the most of lower light levels.