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September in the garden

Posted: Friday 7 September 2012
by Kate Bradbury

The cold, wet weather in May and June dampened my spirit for sowing seeds and staking plants, and any attempts to redress this were hampered by snails in July.


Pink cosmos flower

I’d almost given up on my garden this year. The cold, wet weather in May and June dampened my spirit for sowing seeds and staking plants, and any attempts to redress this were hampered by snails in July. By the end of August, the garden should have been ablaze with Verbena bonariensis, rudbeckeias and sedums, but it looked more like an unruly mass of foliage. A few straggly specimens of nepeta and Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ were all my garden had to show for ‘summer’.

I was almost relieved when September came, as it meant I could start planning for next year. I would lift and divide plants, make leaf piles for the frogs and consult bulb catalogues.

But, so far, September has been hot and sunny. This last week I noticed a sudden burst of insect activity in the garden – common carder and buff-tailed bumblebees have been taking the last of the pollen and nectar from the nepeta, and there’s been a late flush of peacock, small tortoiseshell and comma butterflies.

So last week, inspired by this activity, I actually did some gardening. I sowed rocket and lambs lettuce for autumn salads, and hardy annualsAmmi majus, cornflower, love-in-a-mist and honesty – which I never got around to sowing in spring. I cut the grass. And I went to the garden centre to buy some plants.

It’s still September. The borders are much the same, with teasel, bronze fennel and hollyhock seedheads left standing for the birds. There’s still a lot of foliage. But there are now patches of colour: I have cosmos and Japanese anemones (to replace the ones eaten by snails), Michaelmas daisies (to complement the two pasty flowers I have on my existing plant), and a nice new mallow (Lavatera × clementii 'Rosea’). The garden, finally, looks presentable.

It will probably snow next week.





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Talkback: September in the garden
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oldchippy 07/09/2012 at 22:22

Kate the weather always picks up after the new school year begins, I have been pruning this week as every thing has just exploded my Japanese Anemones have grown with flowers above the fence 6'6" or 1950mm,every bush has more than doubled in size they must have liked the wet weather,The poor cherry tree is looking a bit sad with large space's on all the branches may be it needs a feed.

Pennine Petal 08/09/2012 at 19:51

Hiya Chippy, my Japanese anemones are not spreading as much as other people's seem to, I am putting it down to clay soil. They are tall though. Purple loose strife even taller. Have a lovely pink ground cover rose flowering with scent wafting across the garden. I have had it for years and it never lets me down in late summer. Keep dead heading it to keep the flowers coming.

tomstattyead 11/09/2012 at 21:27

My Cosmos are over six feet tall ,and are just beginning to flower, Roses are dying back after a short flowering period.  I bought quite a few new perennials to fill the space where my greenhouse used to be.. The soil was abit clumpy so was advised to apply soil improver, local supplier satd it would act like viagra,  he was right

                                                                                Joan

Marinelilium 12/09/2012 at 09:01

As usual in gardening 'it's an I'll wind that blows no good'. Just like Kate I have found some plants have not made a show (acidanthera and Libertia etc) either through poor light level, low temps but some have defied the snails and the elements and some are the sun-lovers that like dry feet.

The lavender is still covered in buff tailed bees and great white butterflies so remains untrimmed. The grape vine has made an Hussain Bolt for the next county (grapes are still green bullets sadly) and surprisingly the passiflora is heavy with fruit and flowers. I can see four Red Admirals warming up and doing cockpit checks for take-off on the buddleia which has been flowering since April. Some you win some you lose.

Off to enjoy and celebrate this summer's garden winners.