How to prolong the gardening season

As the hottest days of summer give way to the pleasant warm days of September, there is plenty you can do to continue to give exuberance and colour to your outside space, and to look forward to the next growing season.

Depending on the weather, many herbaceous perennials and bedding plants will keep flowering until the cooler nights in October. They will, however, need encouragement ! Keep dead-heading and liquid feeding, and remove “spent” bedding such as lobelia and petunia which look unsightly. For gaps which are appearing, viola and pansies will flower now and survive the winter to rejuvenate in March with a second flush of colour. Viola in particular are very robust and will put up with adverse conditions and give a wonderful show next year.

Elsewhere, feed summer bulbs such as lilies as they die down to give a boost to the bulbs for next year. Dahlias should be at their best now, providing colour when other blooms are fading. They are also wonderful cut flower for a vibrant indoor display. Spring bulbs are available now, so plan ahead and get ready to plant when you have some space in the garden or in pots. Giant alliums tower over most other bulbs and give a “statement” few can match !

As harvesting continues, use “spent” compost from containers to spread around beds and borders. For large vegetable plots, sow green manure which can be dug in later to replenish tired soils. If you are planning a wildflower patch – or even a meadow – many mixes are ideal for sowing now.

The summer months, for all their beauty, are the worst time for planting trees and hedging. Autumn is nature’s time for planting, so plan now for any grand projects.

David Hogg

Buckland Nurseries

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