September is a wonderful month for pottering in the garden
With the sultry heat of summer now over, the air feels fresher and it really is the start of the season of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’. After a bit of a lull for the holiday season, there’s still lots to do as the temperature remains warm but the ground becomes nicely moist with heavy dews.
Now is an excellent time to buy or make a compost bin for all the autumn debris. Then you can look forward to adding all that organic matter to the borders to maintain the garden in good heart.
Growing plants intensively, as we tend to do, means that a lot of goodness is taken out of the earth in a relatively small area. It is therefore essential to put something back in order to get the best out of the plants. Making your own compost is an ideal way of doing this. Although there are plenty of bins to buy, I have always found that the best ones are the homemade variety. Remember to use a good mix of different materials to make the best compost. If you grow your own vegetables, those alone will generate plenty of material. Don’t use woody stems or diseased leaves, as your compost bin probably won’t get to a high enough temperature to break these down.
Move trees and shrubs now while the soil is relatively warm
If a plant has got to be moved, dig around, as far from the base as you can and as deep as possible, to take up a large area of root. If it’s a very big shrub you may have to enlist the help of a kind friend. Wrap the roots in hessian or polythene sheeting under the root ball to retain moisture. Tie the sheet up and move the plant to its new location. Dig a hole big enough to take the root ball without having to cram the roots in. Be sure to plant to the same depth as before. Put the plant in the hole, pull the wrapping out from under the roots and gradually fill in the hole. Work the soil right in and gently firm with your boot as you go. Water in well and stake the plant if it’s in an exposed place.
Take a notebook around the garden
Before the summer display is completely over for another year, it’s a good idea to have a wander around and assess how plants have performed and if they need to be removed completely. Sometimes you have to be tough and if a plant hasn’t come up to expectations, it has to go. There is no point wasting time and effort on a plant that, no matter how hard you try, just won’t grow well. It might be as simple as a colour clash; just make a note and move the offending plants.