What a joy September proved to be, with some delightful days and a real awareness of autumn knocking. I do love the low, chill watery sunrises and the smell of the changing season that sneaks across the land after dawn. The weather though hasn’t knocked out the summer crops and many things have just kept on. The runner beans have been fantastic and all the leaf vegetables look strong, with the winter crops looking very robust indeed. Soft fruit has been terrific too, with raspberries in particular being really prolific. If you have enjoyed yours this year, do try to prune out the old fruiting growth this autumn to ensure good new fruiting stems for next year. With temperatures cooling it is worth taking stock and deciding if you want to preserve tender subjects by storing them away for the spring. Watch dahlias and geraniums in particular.
As space appears in the borders, there’s plenty to be picked up to bring new colour. Winter pansies and violas are everywhere as are wallflowers, sweet William, chrysanthemums and many more over wintering bits. Bulbs are in plentiful supply and all can safely be set out in the coming days. There’s a chance to refresh tubs and baskets for winter colour too. This is also a good month to implement changes, to reshape borders, create patios and introduce new shrubs and trees. Cast a glance around and see what nature is doing for the autumn, spotting berries, the turn of foliage and even flowers as you ponder on the what to plant next. A good garden should hold your attention across every season and the idea of having colour at the turn of the year is worthwhile. Look at Viburnums, Mahonias, Winter honeysuckle, Sarcococca, Jasmine as starters.
In the vegetable border, you can still pop in winter onions, shallots and garlic and at the end of the month over wintering Broad Beans. If you can find a bit of shelter then winter lettuce and Mizuna are useful for pepping up the salad.
As always at this time there is plenty of maintenance work to consider too. Focus on keeping this safe and secure. Cut out heavy branches, thin crowded space and tie and strap plants to avoid breakage and uprooting.
And finally, if you were teased by the talk of raspberries and want to try your luck next season, then pick up canes from garden centres next month.