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Perk up your autumn border

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 08:00

September is a lovely month. The weather is usually rather good, the evenings haven’t drawn in too much and the children are, hopefully, back at school!

This is a good time to give established lavender plants a clip – don’t cut into the old bald wood as it will not regenerate (in cases like this it is better to buy a new plant). Younger plants can do with a harder prune to keep them bushy.

Cut asparagus ferns to the ground and get rid of them as they may be harbouring the eggs of the asparagus beetle, Crioceris asparagi. Apply a balanced feed such as blood, fish and bone meal over the soil surface to help ensure a good crop next year.

It flowers its socks off from August to October

If your autumn border is looking a bit lacklustre it might be time to perk it up with the bright, cheerful Rudbeckia fulgida var. deamii. Its daisy-like orange-yellow flowers with cone-shaped black centres look wonderful. It flowers its socks off from August to October and looks really good planted with ornamental grasses in bold drifts in a sunny or semi shaded border.

When you plant herbaceous perennials I find that it is always best to plant in groups, rather than just dotting the odd single plant here and there, which looks bitty. The usual thing is to plant in odd numbers (I don’t know why – it just looks right) of perhaps three or five so they bulk up to form a nice clump.

Bring houseplants back indoors

Bring indoors any houseplants that you have put outside for the summer. The nights are getting cooler and they would be better off inside before you forget about them! They may need re-potting after a growth spurt through the summer, but either way you need to check for signs of pests in case you bring them inside as well.

There is still time to take cuttings from half-hardy plants such as Osteospermum, some Salvias, Pelargoniums, Penstemon, etc. Take 6cm long cuttings and put them around the edge of a pot filled with half John Innes compost and half grit. Put on a greenhouse bench or windowsill where they can get some sunlight.

Keep harvesting apples throughout September and October. Don’t store damaged fruit as it will contaminate the others. Wrapped in a twist of newspaper and spread out on a rack in a dry, cool dark place they could last till Christmas. Check from time to time.

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