Blooming September!

August 28, 2011

As much as I hate to admit it, there’s been the distinct smell of autumn in the air this week.  Have you noticed it too?  Still, as every year, we will hope and pray for an Indian summer! In the meantime, I have summarised below those tasks for the month ahead.

Flowers & Flower Gardens

  • Cut back Pyracantha hard and train new growth onto your wall or fence supports
  • Keep dead-heading all flowering perennials and check that the stakes are firmly planted in the soil, especially tall Dahlias and Chrysanthemums, to support their growth for the remainder of the flowing season
  • Catch any earwigs among your Dahlia canes and destroy – best to use upturned pots crammed with newspaper or straw as they are quick little critters!
  • Collect seeds from border perennials and store in a sealed container in a cool place
  • Prune lavender to keep its shape over the winter period.  For cuttings, simply pull off any side-shoots and plant them up in trays of gritty compost
  • Prune rambling roses that have finished flowering, by removing their shoots
  • Dead-head lily plants trimming back to just above the foliage
  • Dig-up hardy annuals such as Nigella, Nasturtium, Calendula and Limnanthes (poached egg plant), if you don't want them to self-seed

Fruit & Vegetable Care

  • Take old fruited raspberry stems down to ground level
  • Plant out rooted strawberry runners and, if you pot some up to move into the greenhouse later in the winter, you may be able to enjoy some early fruits!
  • Prune your ‘trained’ forms of fruit trees
  • Pinch out the tops of the main shoots on your outdoor ‘upright’ tomato plants to encourage more fruit and less foliage
  • Continue to pick your plums and freeze any that you don’t manage to eat right away
  • Lift and store your onions and shallots
  • Buy (or apply) grease bands for your fruit trees to catch wingless winter moths, earwigs, ants and other potentially harmful insects.  Try a brand like Boltac, around £5 per box, which will include full instructions on how to use it
  • Vegetables to sow now include: lettuces, spinach, land cress (sometimes called American cress), beetroot, radishes, coriander, spring onions, calabrese (milder than broccoli and easier to grow), spring greens, Swiss chard and hardy Japanese onions.
I mentioned this last month – Landshare - if you know anyone waiting for an allotment then direct them to the Landshare website www.landshare.net.

Things To See & Do

Wisley Flower Show 8 – 11 September

The RHS Wisley Flower Show is one of the most spectacular late summer events with its village-style collection of stalls and displays.  Running over 4 days, opening at 9am, this is a great day out for gardeners of all levels and abilities.  www.rhs.org.uk/Gardens/Wisley/What-s-on/Wisley-Flower-Show.

The Secret Gardens of Wrest Park

Wrest Park in Silsoe, Bedfordshire is managed by English Heritage and has recently undergone a £1.4m major restoration and revitalisation project.   The gardens, originally laid out by legendary figures such as Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, had become almost forgotten.  The gardens re-opened to the public earlier this month and this bank holiday weekend sees a craft and design festival.  www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/wrest-park/

Stinking Bishop?!

Really I’m not being rude, or referring to Wallace & Gromit, Stinking Bishop is just one of the hundred or so mouth-watering cheeses sold online and in-store by Teddington Cheese.  Hampers, accessories, wedding cheesecakes, cheese club, this place has it all! Branches in Teddington and Richmond.  Visit www.teddingtoncheese.co.uk for more information. Enjoy your bank holiday weekend! Kind regards, Helen

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