September Garden Maintenance Tips
Finish pruning evergreen hedges or topiary, such as yew and box, this month. This will give material for semi-ripe cuttings, if you want to increase your stock. Strip off all the leaves and side shoots so that only about 5cm of foliage remains and plant the stem into a container of gritty compost around the edge of a plant pot. Keep on a window sill and water daily until roots have formed when you can plant them up individually. It’s always satisfying to get new plants for free and you can do this with rosemary, lavender, thyme, gooseberries, currants, flowering shrubs and even roses. Another way of getting plants for free is to save seed every year. Sweet peas, nasturtiums, and cosmos are perfect for this and very easy to grow.
Now is an excellent time to buy or make a compost bin for all the autumn debris. You can then 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.
Lawns require less frequent mowing now and once you have mowed it, trim the edges. This makes a huge difference to the overall appearance of your lawn and is very simple to do. Use a pair of lawn-edging shears to cut away any long grass that is beginning to encroach into the borders. Ideally you should do this after every mowing, but at this time of year, once done, it should stay looking neat and tidy for the colder months ahead.