September and October are the unsung heroes of the flowering season. So many of our favourite hardy plants come into flower now, sometimes for the second time. Hydrangeas, their colours gradually changing with great subtlety, fuchsias, bright as lipstick, some roses too will carry on blooming until the first frosts. These plants together make a wonderfully vibrant combination. Pinks, cerises and rich reds come from japanese anemones and sedums which compliment the colours of autumn leaves. Soft blues are added to the picture from agastache, asters, nepeta and caryopteris, blending in with the misty mornings, netted with spiders’ webs and covered in dew. All these flowers are rich in nectar and very attractive to bees and butterflies.
Harvest: The kitchen garden is looking wonderful and giving of its best, despite the best efforts of slugs and snails. With a bit of luck there should be salads and herbs in quantity. What a great pleasure it is to nip outside with a basket and come back with the makings of a meal.
Sow: Once plants are harvested and ground is cleared, sow some seeds while the soil is still warm. Try mizuna and other mustard greens, rocket, winter lettuce abd spinach. Also sow in modules in the greenhouse for overwintering (once the tomatoes have been cleared).
Cut back: fruited canes of blackberries, raspberries and tayberries. Tie in the young canes for next year’s fruiting.
Neaten hedges: Established hedges, of, for instance holly, hawthorn, beech and hornbeam, get them all neat with crisp edges, which give the garden an elegant structure during the winter.
Leave the seed heads: on herbaceous plants for the same reason and also to provide seeds for the birds during the winter.