Well, as Summers go it wasn’t too bad really, was it? The usual mish mash, ever inconsistent, unreliable and unique. There were a few low night temperatures and some stinking hot days in September too. The cropping was very hit and miss and certainly some things have performed poorly, our dwarf French beans were productive for less than a month and the Courgettes had mildew almost from day one, but tomatoes and cucumbers have done well.
The flower beds took a long time and a lot of water to get going, but have been a joy across recent weeks, our dahlias have been magnificent and at every turn I have spotted spectacular sunflowers. It is quite extraordinary, the way that from a single seed, across a short season you end up with a plant eight to ten feet tall. This September one nodding giant in our garden supported twelve blooms in one go.
This month we need to get back on track with autumn bedding and bulbs, the ground is warm, but the days are shortening. There is plenty of material to look at, with Pansies and Violas everywhere. Wallflowers and other over wintering biennials are around too. Look at Siberian wallflowers if you can find some, they are compact, tough and very floriferous in the spring. Some are also strongly scented.
This month can be a good month for reconfiguring the shape of the garden and new shrubs and trees can be introduced and other relocated. There will be something in the wrong place, we all plant things too close together and it takes a year or two to realise it. Where possible do stake or cane new plantings, nothing will make much growth now until the spring and plants just need a bit of anchorage.
In the vegetable garden you can be filling up newly vacated space with Onion sets, garlic and towards the end of the month some Aquadulce broad beans.
Things are slowing down, so consider late pruning of hedges or boisterous growers to make them tidy for the winter and whip off the lawn before packing the mower away. If the mood takes, then do a bit of prodding around the lawn with a fork to offer aeration (it does reduce the advance of moss).
And finally shift any tender plants that you hope to hold for next year into a sheltered position. As we spotted last winter, the cold doesn’t take prisoners.