Well, folks, as the daylight shortens, sadly it is almost the end of the growing season for us in the Lothians. I hope you have already planted any new acquisitions as they need these a couple of months to develop strong roots before winter sets in.
Other jobs for this month include cutting back some of the taller herbaceous plants to stop them being up-rooted in the winds. Put a mulch down on the beds after some heavy rain to help weed control and protect plants from frost in the winter.
Spring flowering bulbs are available to buy now and should be planted by the end of the month. Daffodils are a cheerful reminder of better weather beginning in the spring. Remember though, when planting bulbs, that they must be planted twice the depth of the size of the bulb. That is, a daffodil will be planted deeper than a crocus because of the bulb size difference.
There is still an array of colour in the garden just now with late flowering herbaceous. My favourite are the Heleniums, particularly Moorheim Beauty with its bright orange and brown centred flowers and Phlox in a variety of colours -my favourite is Spitfire (pictured).
The Japanese Anemones, particularly hybrida September Charm, is a very hardy and tall pink flowering perennial or if you prefer white look for the Honorine Jobert or Whirlwind. Sedums, agapanthus and gentians (pictured – BLue Trumpet) are lovely now, too.
Some trees are beginning to look spectacular with the autumnal colouring of the leaves and the berries. The varying colours of Sorbus berries like the White berries of cashmiriana will remain on the trees the longest, as birds prefer their red berries of the rowan or sorbus aucuparia. Or try the yellow berried Sorbus Joseph Rock or the pink berries of S. hupehensis for variety â€“ Â but remember the white are the birds least favourite. Basically, if you want to feed the birds then plant trees and shrubs with red shades of berries and if you prefer to enjoy the additional colour of berries yourself, then plant shades of white. Berries on climbers such as Tropaeolum and honeysuckle provide colour just now.
Other trees/shrubs such as cotoneaster provide both colour and food for wildlife at this time of the year. Acers have a wonderful display of autumnal leaf in from shades of Limey yellows to burnt oranges to all shades of red. Climbers such as parthenocissus, (Virginia creeper, Boston Ivy) are in a league of their own and have to be top dog for autumnal colouration, but beware, it can be vigorous.
Harvesting of the vegetable plots should be continued and crops such as potato, carrot and onion should be dried before storing in a cool dark but dry place. Now that strawberries, currants and raspberries are finished, harvest the crops of apples, plums and brambles. Seek out favourite family recipes and use the surplus to make jams and puddings. The plants will need tidying – cut back strawberries and burn the leaves or renew the plants with runners (advisable every two or three years to prevent diseases building up) and raspberries will need cutting back hard. Winter crops should be in and the rest of the ground weeded and turned over, and then covered.
Finally take a look around your garden and make notes of jobs to be done, spaces for new planting and of plants to be divided that may have grown too large for their space.
Coreen Connell at Head of Propagation at Kevock Garden Plants.Â
(This feature was originally published last year, and is back by popular request!)