By Glyn Smith Head Gardener at Erdigg Hall National Trust Garden
With a little bit of sunnier weather here, get out and enjoy your gardens. Maybe catch up with a few garden jobs that have been neglected, or delayed.
Erddig in September means yet more hedge cutting and the build-up to our apple festival. (October 4th and 5th 2012) Lawns are lush and green for once, but this is a good time to carry out autumn lawn maintenance. Rake, or scarify, to remove dead thatch and moss, apply lawn weed killer, aerate where compacted or badly drained and apply an autumn lawn feed to strengthen the grass to face the coming winter. September is a good time to sow grass seed. Whether just patching bare spots, or making a new lawn, grass seed will germinate quickly whilst there is still some warmth in the soil.
Keep your borders and beds flowering by removing any dead flower heads and cut a few Dahlias or Chrysanthemums for a vase in the house.
Cuttings can be taken from prized bedding plants, such as Pelargoniums (Bedding Geraniums) and Fuchsias. Use a multi-purpose compost, with added vermiculite or sharp sand. You may also use a rooting hormone to get the best results.
Towards the end of the month, consider lifting and potting up tender plants.
Wisterias may be getting out of hand. Their long tendril shoots can be pruned back to 30-45 centimetres from where they started growing. Don’t worry if there are too many leaves to see properly, as you will be winter pruning in a few months and can take the shoots back much further then.
Another pruning task may be on your rambler and climbing roses. Look to replace some of the oldest stems with fresh new ones growing from ground level.
Although it has not been a good year for fruit, if you have early apple and pear varieties they will need harvesting. Varieties like Discovery and Worcester Pearmain, don’t keep well and should be eaten as soon as possible after picking.
September is the time to add grease bands to help prevent those annoying codlin moths that cause maggots in the apples.
Order your spring bulbs. Daffodils, most lilies, snowdrops and autumn crocus can be planted out now. Plant them between spring flowers, like pansies, violas or polyanthus for a gorgeous display next year.
Keep up the work in the vegetable garden or on the allotment. Maybe you can squeeze in a row of Spring Cabbage seedlings.
Pick all your outside grown tomatoes at the end of the month, Many will continue to ripen on a sunny windowsill.