It is September and officially still summer…. although in my part of the world, Northern Europe, it certainly feels more like Autumn. Here in the Netherlands we have had the wettest summer since 1906 which means that our gardens have suffered badly from extreme heavy rainfall, strong winds and storms.
I have frequently stood geared up and ready to tackle the garden weeds etc. but have had to dash back in because of sudden terrential down poor. Having to leave the garden rather sadder looking than usual.
Apparently this upcoming weekend it is going to be warm, sunny and dry! So get prepared today and set yourself a ‘to do’ list so nothing can get in your way to beautify your garden, terrace or balkony and prepare for the onset of nature slowing down.
So I will be tidying away my hose pipe now, get my wellies on again seceteurs and tackle weeds, sad looking shrubs and plants and preparing the garden for a radiant looking WINTER silhoutte!
Below you will find tips and to do’s:
- Make sure your climbing roses are tied back good and proper. In October you can prune them short again.
- Feed flowers and vegetables with an organic liquid feed to extend the season.
- Take cuttings of roses and Mediterranean plants such as lavender, rosemary, santolina and bay.
- Root box cuttings in sharp sand.
- dead head floppy weak plants, tidy them up.
- leave ornamental grasses just as they are, as they are your main frame for the winter silhoutte.
Trees and shrubs
- Japanese anemones can be divided after they have flowered. Take 5cm root cuttings and lay horizontally in a tray half-filled with potting compost, cover with more compost and stand them in a cold frame.
- If you have trees make shure you have them professionally looked after if they look old and damaged, so they will not pose a threat during winter storms. Cut of smaller branches that get in the way, but always do it with extreme caution.
Vegetable, fruit and herbs
- Sow green manures (eg mustard) in the vegetable garden.
- Ventilate indoor grapes as much as possible to reduce the risk of mildew.
- When blackcurrant leaves drop, take cuttings of pencil thickness 20-25cm long. Cut just above and below a bud, top and bottom. Insert in the ground so that two buds are above the soil.
- Peg down shoots of blackberries, loganberries and tayberries to send out roots and make new plants.
- Strawberry patches should be moved every four or five years. This is an ideal time to do so, giving the plants a chance to establish themselves in time before fruiting next year. Extend the Season by giving an organic liquid feed to flowers and vegetables.
- Eat lots of fresh fruit that is in season now for extra vitamin C.
- The kitchen is now the place to get making some deliscious end of summer soups served with hot crusty bread for the weekend and if weather permits eaten outside
- Mow the grass 1x a week and leave the cuttings on the gras for an extra boost before winter sets in.
- Keep weeding regularly, as with all this rain they are stil looming around.
- Keep watatering plants in pots.
- Now is the time to leave the strong striking plants as they are as you want to begin to create your winter silhouette for the garden. Eupatorium, ornamental grasses, Echinacea, Astilbe, Veronicastrum, etc.
- the preparation for winter silhoutte also creates wonderful hiding and housing for small animals and birds.
- Lift and divide woodland and water irises into smaller clumps and replant immediately.
- Keep updating your list of plants you want to move and into which borders and where… as you will forget by the time it is October.
- Take your secateurs with you into the garden and decide which plants are not strong enough for a winter silhouette and if they have died then cut back the flowers.
- If in doubt just do it… that is when you learn most. Take notes of what actions you have taken and adjust during the season.
- Slowly the evenings are beginning to get shorter… so light candles and enjoy being outside and casually place blankets on the chairs, inviting people to snuggle up.
- Enjoy the magical beauty of the garden preparing itself slowly for autumn and winter. Go out with your camera and take som gorgeous photo’s.
- Invite friends and family for an end of summer party… and celebrate life!