My Garden by Philippa Thomas

Summer will hopefully, be having its final fling this month, giving us some lovely warm days to enjoy…  So many of us spend time in our gardens, almost every single day and the pleasure it gives us is indescribable.  …To some of us, …it is our paradise.

Bulbs.

Autumn is the time when most Spring flowering bulbs are planted:  Tulips, Daffodils, Crocuses, Anemones, Narcissi, Snowdrops, Iris/ dwarf, Hyacinths, Chinodaxas, Scillas, Muscari – , (grape hyacinths), Snake head fritilary bulbs, Camassias and then, some people like to get going with planting Hyacinths and Amaryllis bulbs, for forcing indoors to ensure blooms for Christmas time.  …On my list of Spring flowering bulbs for a cool greenhouse, Veicheimia bracteala, possibly tops the list… glossy foliage that really shines, stems that provide height and structure as well as beautiful flowers in a greenish–pink – , they last for ages and ages. – This ‘Stunner’ looks best I think, planted in a pot on its own.

For high impact, bulbs in containers can be hard to beat, particularly in Spring.  Remember, the bigger the bulb, the stronger and larger the plant/bloom and where corms and tubers are concerned, size really does matter…  So, better to spend more on larger bulbs in order to get greater results.  …Maybe, be less tempted by bargain packs or cut prices, – smaller bulbs produce weaker plants on spindly stems with fewer flowers …make sure, there are no signs of shrivelling or mould.  Tulips can flower any time from late March to May depending on the type, so check the timing of the varieties when buying a combination, – small bulbs may not simply flower in their first year.  September is a great time to collect herbs for drying – , why not make your own delicious herbal teas. My favourite is lemon verbena, (aloysia triphylla).  It seems best to collect the young fresh leaves late in the afternoon and hang the bunch in the greenhouse or a dry room in the house.  …Make sure, they are completely dry before putting in an airtight jar.  Mint, Peppermint, Spearmint, Pineapple, Chamomile all dry well, too.

Companion Planting.

  1. French Marigolds and tomatoes …the pungent smell of the Marigolds is believed to prevent whitefly attacking the hairy tomato leaves.
  2. Courgettes benefit from growing with English Marigolds.
  3. Sweet peas will attract pollinating insects to your runner beans.
  4. Growing leeks, onions or mint beside carrots is thought to confuse root fly.

 

Might Do, Maybe September Jobs.

  1. Your hanging baskets will often keep going ‘til the very first frost, …so the odd liquid feed will be beneficial.  Keep dead-heading Dahlias, Roses, annuals and perennials to extend their performance.
  2. It’s the ideal time to plant trees and shrubs, they will grow vigorously next Spring if planted this month.  …Likewise, as the soil is still warm from Summer and moist wet Autumn rain, plants will establish quickly, especially if you have well drained soil.
  3. Prune climbing Roses and rambling Roses once they have finished flowering.
  4. Keep Cameillas and Rhododendrons well watered.  Now, is when they are forming next year’s flower buds for next Springtime displays.
  5. Regularly, pick vegetables so that they don’t get the chance to turn tough and woody or run to seed.  Freeze what you don’t use.
  6. To test apples are ripe, gently lift them in the palm of your hand or give them a gentle pull – , they should come away easily.
  7. It is better to water early on in the day so that the greenhouse is dry by the evening.  Damp cool nights can encourage botrytis.
  8. Coffee grounds, I believe are not so great as a fertiliser though there are some nutrients, N, P & K but they are very low concentrations and coffee grounds are slightly acidic which will of course, benefit fruit.
  9. Tomato and pepper seeds can be scraped out of ripe fruits and dried on a paper towel.

“In the garden, Autumn is indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil.  At no season safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects from August to November.        Rose G. Kingsley – The Autumn Garden, 1905.

“Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower.”     Alfred Camus.

“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”      William Cullen Bryant.

“Winter is an etching, Spring a watercolour, Summer an oil painting, and Autumn a mosaic of them all.”     Stanley Horowitz.