Rushlake Green Village Leaf

Gardening Diary September 2012

September blow soft 'till the fruit's in the loft '

The great work of the month is the harvesting of fruits. Apples and pears for storing may be picked just as soon as they will readily part from the tree, those allowed to fall will inevitably be bruised and bruises are fatal to the prospects of stored fruits. Raspberries and blackberries may be pruned, cutting out all stems which have borne fruit this year. Main crop potatoes may be lifted as soon as the haulm dies down, there is nothing to be gained by leaving them in the ground and in the event of a wet spell there is every prospect of them making secondary growth. Those of us keen on onions will be sowing now, having remembered to first prepare the ground with those carefully dry-stored ashes from the wood burner. Lettuce and parsley for winter use may be sown on recently vacated ground, dug over but not manured.

Evergreen shrubs, including hollies and conifers may be planted now. Rhododendrons may be transplanted but care must be taken to keep the root balls from drying out. Early bulbs may be planted now, including crocuses, snowdrops, fritillaria and narcissi and also biennials such as wallflowers, foxgloves, canterbury bells and verbascum. I treat sweet peas as ordinary autumn sown hardy annuals, sowing the seeds outdoors now where they are to grow next year, choosing a sheltered and well drained spot. We may also be increasing our stock in the borders by division of existing plants. Many fleshy rooted perennials will take root after division now and may safely face the winter. If left for another six weeks they will be ready for slumber and will then lie inert in the cold wet soil, possibly decaying before the spring reawakening. Michaelmas daisies are now in flower and when wet can become very heavy, it is as well to stake these as tall stems flopped across the lawn are a chastening sight.

The growth of vigorous climbers such as clematis and wisteria may be cut back now. Climbing roses will lately have been sending up new shoots, these will bear the best flowers next year and should be tied in now as they are brittle and easily damaged by winter gales. As always the hoe will have its work in the borders, it is easy to overlook the weeds at this late stage and care should be taken not to let them get the upper hand.

The days may be shorter but there is no slackening off in the work to be done.

The Gardening Diary is kindly volunteered by Ross Atabey from Green & Great Gardens your local landscaping and garden specialists. For further advice contact Ross on 07941 315214 01435 812 153 or visit www.greenandgreatgardens.co.uk