Richness and colour for September: Michaelmas daisies (asters – see picture of Aster amellus ‘Sonara’ at Hauser and Wirth, Somerset) never fail to delight the eye and attract a variety of insects. The very word Michaelmas, brings thoughts of woodsmoke and low sunlight, Autumn is upon us. Some of the aster family, of North American origin, are now called Symphyotrichum, should you be looking for them. Asters associate well with Japanese anemones, sedums and persicaria. The Dutch planting designer Piet Oudolf excels in graceful plant designs that look wonderful in late summer and autumn.
Time to sow: You can sow yellow rattle seeds – even on small patch of meadow this parasitic plant will sap the energy of grass allowing other flowers more light and nutrients.
Also a good time to sow wildflower meadows and lawns. The soil is still warm and plants will have time to grow and harden off before winter.
Fruitfulness: Plants new strawberry plants for next year’s harvest.
Cut back the old canes on blackberries and raspberries once the fruit has been picked. Prune blackcurrants when dormant – from late autumn to late winter. Fruit forms on young wood, so when pruning aim to remove older wood, leaving the young shoots.
Redcurrants bear their fruit on old wood. Prune bushes by removing diseased or very old branches in winter, then prune new growth back to two buds in early summer to keep plants compact. Leaders should be pruned to outward facing buds.
Keep up the hard work: Clip hedges such as beech and hawthorn to get them in shape for winter.
Springtime: Order bulbs as soon as possible and plant when they are delivered.