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It's been a rather mixed bag of a summer with some very hot spells, followed by such a lot of rain then an unexpected and delightful late spell of really warm, sunny days in early September. As the seasons change there are a lot of jobs to attend to, so here are just a few suggestions. 


Any pots, containers and hanging baskets are probably coming to the end of their season, but if there are still some worthwhile displays keep feeding and watering them. Dead-heading the faded blooms will keep them looking good as long as possible.


The grass will be slowing down in growth now but will benefit from some autumn care to see it through winter in good condition. Scarifying (scratching/raking) the surface will draw out moss and thatch that have built up through the year then aerating/spiking it, either with a special device or simply push a fork into the grass every few inches and rock it back and forth to create holes, then feed the lawn with a special low-nitrogen autumn formula to toughen up the grass for winter. The perfectionist lawn lover will also top-dress by spreading a thin layer of either sifted topsoil or ready made turf dressing working it in with a stiff brush or bessom. 


Early Autumn is bulb-planting season and there is so much to choose from at the garden centres and on-line suppliers. Little Iris reticulata make a lovely early display to bring indoors once they flower. Plant them densely into a shallow terracotta bowl that can be over-wintered in a greenhouse, porch or conservatory.


Pot-up some herbs to bring into the kitchen for winter use by splitting off sections of herbs growing outdoors. Mint, chives and oregano can all be easily divided and it is worth sowing fresh pots of parsley, coriander and basil. It is advisable to take cuttings from Rosemary as they can struggle in a harsh winter, or if grown in pots bring them under cover to add to winter stews and casseroles.


In the vegetable garden this is an ideal time to sow over-wintering onions and Spring cabbage plants. These crops are useful for filling empty space over the winter but are ready to lift in early summer in time for planting summer crops next year.



September and October are busy months as we tidy up and put things under cover ahead of the winter but often we get lovely golden days to enjoy the particular beauty of the changing season.

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