September is upon us. What delights will this one hold? Traditionally it’s the month that marks the turn of the season, but the muddle of the last month has had me wondering which season we are changing. August was a mish mash of a month, delivering all that meteorology has to offer. We had some blistering heat, some torrential storms, some cool nights and winds to take your head off.
Things kept growing, but there were casualties, half of my underdeveloped Bramley apples are on the floor and (because I neglected to put up a trap in April), the Plum moth has wrecked what plums were there. They look as though they have peppered by a shotgun, the exit route of escaping maggots apparent on every fruit. I am also waging war against the Cabbage White Butterfly. A female can, in a short time lay around two hundred eggs and these she will spread about in clusters of twenty or so . Within two weeks the caterpillars are out and voraciously chomping through all available brassicas (that’s the cabbage family including sprouts and kale). We have been netting and spraying with Grazers (a spray that works as a good deterrent…until we get heavy rain). On dry days we see some very sulky butterflies struggling to find a place for their brood. Spraying hasn’t deterred the snails, who have also brought chaos and have messed up my beans.
For all of that it has been fun and some of the flowers have been wonderful. I have a fantastic display of mixed sunflowers and modern varieties offer great colours. I have also had success with Mirabilis Jalapa (grown from seed). It is actually regarded as a perennial, forming a tuber at the end of it’s first season.
It flowers in the year of sowing and displays flat trumpet like flowers in a range of jazzy colours. Check it out, it’s a bed filler and very jolly.
September sees garden centres full of bulbs and winter pansies, together with wallflowers and autumn chrysanthemums. As spaces appear, fill your gaps. There is no rush, stock will be around for at least another eight weeks, but earlier planting will allow good root development and should ensure some winter colour.
And finally, if you have space in the vegetable garden, onion sets and shallots will all be available soon. Don’t rush for Broad Beans though, it’s too early!