September Jobs for the Garden
Prune climbing roses when the flowers start to fade. If they are still growing strong, with lots of flowers, wait until next month. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between a climbing rose and a rambling rose. Usually ramblers are the roses that flower only once, normally in June, whereas climbers repeat flower almost all summer. It’s relatively straightforward to prune climbing roses. Using sharp secateurs, firstly remove any dead or diseased wood, then prune all the side shoots from all branches to two or three buds (these will form new growth next year). If there are new shoots growing from the base, these can be tied in to form the new framework of the plant.
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 you 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.
And finally …
Enjoy the produce of autumn! There’s no doubt in my mind, English apples are the best in the world and this month they are ready to be enjoyed. If you feel like growing your own, there is space for a tree, even in the smallest of gardens. Trees can be trained as an espalier or fan shape against a fence or wall, if space is at a premium. Or, for a really small space, try growing a step-over apple. As the name suggests, the step-over is a low-growing, horizontally-trained tree that can literally be ‘stepped over’. Step-overs can be planted along an edge of a path or a bed and make an excellent divider on an allotment or fruit garden.