SUMMER is drawing to a close and Autumn is just around the corner.
What a perfect time to think about planting – the soil is warm and the Autumn rains will get plants established before the Winter sets in – which is why September is traditionally a great month for planting bulbs.
At this time of year nurseries and garden retailers have great offers on big bags of mixed Daffodil bulbs, in all shapes and sizes.
There are also organic options along with heritage varieties and new season colours to throw into the mix. Daffodils can grow pretty much anywhere, even through the lawn.
The easiest way to work out how deep to plant your bulb is to dig down approximately three times the depth of the bulb – but be warned, if you plant Daffodils too close to the surface they often won’t flower.
You can plant Daffodils, and Crocuses, from September to October – as many as you can get into the ground or in containers.
Once planted you need do nothing else to them other than wait for a stunning show in the Spring.
If you’re planting in lawns, cut out three sides of a square and lift back the turf, put in a few bulbs and then firm the turf back down again.
As it’s bulb season, you could also plant hyacinth bulbs in pots, by mid-September, so that you have a glorious Christmas display or gift for gardening friends and family.
Once the hyacinths are planted in a pot, put in a dark cool place (a garage or shed) for 10-12 weeks and then bring out into the light so flowering can start.
If you are growing your own fruit and veg then now is the time to pull up your first parsnips.
Use a garden fork to carefully ease out parsnip roots from the ground.
Pick every other one in the row to allow the remaining roots to get bigger before harvesting them much later in the winter, when they will be sweeter (after the first frost).
A couple of good varieties are … Albion, disease-resistant producing long smooth white-skinned roots with a sweet flavour that store well; and Gladiator, a great flavour and especially suited to heavy soils. You should also be harvesting late raspberries on a daily basis.
They will have started fruiting in August and will carry on until early Autumn. The later it gets, the colder the nights are and the chance of rotting increases, so pick them as they ripen.
Late summer is progressing into Autumn and as the RHS says … September is generally a cooler, gustier month than August and the days are noticeably shorter.
While there’s not as much to do in the ornamental garden at this time of the year, if you have a fruit or vegetable patch, you’ll be busy reaping the rewards of harvest.
It’s also time to get out and start planting spring-flowering bulbs for next year and you can collect seeds for next summer’s colour too.
Make the most of the remaining warmth while you can!
Top three jobs this month – divide herbaceous perennials; pick autumn raspberries; and collect and sow seed from perennials and hardy annuals.