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Gardener's Diary September 2006

Sixty fifth edition -  September 2006   

Are you fed up with the endless ants nests in your garden? There's some useful information about them here.

Gardens recovered slightly in August from the heat of the previous month, but if your lawn is still brown and dead-looking, rake all the dead grass out and remove it, because it tends to lie flat and prevent the new shoots from coming through. Finally give it an Autumn weed and feed..

I've just received Thompson & Morgan's New 2007 Press Pack and am pleased to see that there are more fruit and vegetable seeds than flower seeds amongst their newest varieties available for next year.. In particular the following varieties of both flowers and vegetables appealed to me:- 



Teenie Beanie Runner Bean

The first true mini-podded runner bean available to the amateur gardener.

  • Delicious stringless baby beans (As seen in this photo
  • Heavy cropper
  • Very long picking season

Grow your own supermarket salads

Eight new salad leaf mixes enabling home gardeners to grow a wide range of 'supermarket' salad leaves at a fraction of the cost.

One of the biggest growth sectors for fresh produce is freshly prepared salad leaves in bags, which now dominate a large area of the supermarket shelves, yet no salads can be as healthy and fresh as those grown by a gardener's own fair hands.




The Viagra Foxglove!

Foxglove 'Candy Mountain', the first upward facing Foxglove from seed, enabling you to look inside its dainty bells and view the delightful freckled throats. (I also would appreciate being able to see the bees inside)



Sweet Pea 'Elegant Ladies'

This beautiful bi-coloured mixture was carefully selected by Thompson and Morgan's Horticultural Manager for its delicate pastel colours, comprising of highly fragrant small flowered heirloom types, many dating back to the 16th century.




Talking of seeds, this is the time of year when you can collect your own seed from the garden to use for your flower displays next year..




An introduction from Rosemary Martin...

I have been gardening now as a hobby for about thirty years, but have no formal training..  I don't have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice, but I also think the modern trends work well. 

This column adds a new dimension to my interest in all aspects of horticulture and will hopefully help others find pleasure in this healthy and therapeutic pastime  ...  

Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife, remembering to tell me which country you are from..  


Click here for previous editions of Gardener's Diary..

House plants

Reduce watering and feeding gradually this month, until the winter minimum is reached. Ensure plants are in tip top condition and sited correctly, to ensure they survive the winter months.



Mower blades should be raised a notch to give a longer cut. As I advised in my introduction this month, the lawn will benefit from a good raking to remove any dead grass. Finally apply an autumn weed and feed, taking care to follow instructions regarding the composting of treated clippings.


Herbaceous borders

Continue dead-heading, weeding and hoeing, to keep the borders looking neat. You can still sow many biennials straight into the ground, such as Cornflowers, Foxgloves and Sweet Williams, and they will get away to an early start next year. I  collect seeds from the various biennial plants I want, jumble them all up and throw them into the borders. The result is great and I can always thin out those I don`t want. 


This is the main month for harvesting your crops, preferably on a dry day, and preparing them for storage over winter. A good month for making tomato chutney once you have stripped all the plants of their fruit. It is possible to `sun-dry` tomatoes in the oven and overwinter them! 



Aquatic plants will start to die down this month, leaving the pond looking a bit worse for wear. I usually bite the bullet and give nature a helping hand by cutting foliage down before it becomes an eyesore. I can then put the wire mesh lid over the pond to keep the falling leaves from adding to the rotting plants and producing gases that can harm the fish. Oxygenating plants can go too as they are more hindrance than help in the winter, for they become inactive as oxygen-producers, but contribute to the production of toxic gases as some of their growth decays. 


September - the month of the sleepy wasps and small animals getting ready to hibernate. I have got the bird feeders and bird table out of the shed and have cleaned them up ready for another season of feeding the bird population. I make "fat balls" for the birds by gently heating lard, mixing in bird seed and forming balls when cooled, finally putting them in the netting that oranges and onions come in, and hanging them around the garden..  




Amazon book - Gardens of the National Trust. When the National Trust decided to take on the care of gardens, the aim was that these would be the very best of their kind in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Trust now has the finest collection of gardens ever assembled under one ownership..

Volunteering with the National Trust

Volunteers are active in all parts of the National Trust, from the new central office in Swindon to the summits of Snowdonia and Divis Mountain near Belfast.

View their latest opportunities, or find out more about the kind of roles and different places you can volunteer:




The Yellow Book: NGS Gardens Open for CharityRHS gardens

Their four flagship gardens not only provide year-round interest and offer a wide range of courses, talks and demonstrations, they also demonstrate the best gardening practices, new techniques and exciting new plants to try in your garden.

Or go to their website for a diary of all other events at:-

Malvern Autumn Garden & Country Show

23 - 24 September 2006
A plant lover’s paradise, with literally thousands of beautiful blooms on sale from the country’s finest nurseries.


Do you take advantage of the BBC Gardening website for information? I find it a valuable source of information, for up to date legislation, countryside matters and useful information such as plant pests and diseases, which saves me ploughing through all my gardening books, with the knowledge that their information is bang up to date...

Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming

Please tell me which country you live in as knowing the climate can help me solve your problem. Your current email address is necessary as my replies are occasionally returned to me as undeliverable.. PLEASE TITLE YOUR EMAIL 'GARDEN QUERY' OTHERWISE IT WILL GET PUT IN THE SPAM FOLDER BY MY ISP


Thompson & Morgan LogoThompson & Morgan 


Visit where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line.  Have a look to see what is new and any special seasonal offers


Some places to visit... 



Visit the Eden Project




The living theatre of plants and people
The Eden Project is a gateway into the world of plants and people. A meeting place for all to discover how we depend on plants and how we can help to manage and conserve them for our mutual survival.


Kew Gardens two locations:-

Tel: 020 8332 5655 (24 hr)
Fax: 020 8332 5197

Royal Botanic Gardens

Tel: 01444 894066 (24 hr)
Fax: 01444 894069

Royal Botanic Gardens
Wakehurst Place
Nr Haywards Heath
West Sussex
RH17 6TN


The National Botanic Gardens of Scotland comprise:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scotland's Premier Garden

Benmore Botanic Garden, Argyll
Argyll's Magnificent Mountainside Garden

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Borders
Wonderful Woodland Garden

Logan Botanic Garden, Galloway
Scotland's Most Exotic Garden

The National Botanic Garden of WalesThe National Botanic Garden of Wales

The star attraction here is the 91 metre long domed glasshouse, that houses landscapes normally found in the Mediterranean. This would be a super place to visit on a chilly day...



Some websites of interest to gardeners:-


Carry on Gardening - The easier gardening web site from ThriveGardening is an important part of many people's lives. You don't have to give up gardening because of accident or illness, the onset of disability or the problems associated with growing older. The information on their website is designed to provide you with the information to Carry on Gardening.

Carry on Gardening was initiated by the horticultural charity Thrive and is funded by the National Lottery Charities Board.  It brings together information on easy ways of gardening gathered over 23 years by Thrive and research carried out since the early 1970s by Mary Marlborough Centre, Oxford, on tools and equipment for disabled and older people. 




Useful reading:-

"The Yellow Book" contains information of all Gardens of England and Wales open for charity, and can be bought priced ?5 from National Gardens Scheme

National Trust Gardens Handbook is ?6.99 and the new edition is out in May  Telephone 01394 389 950 or see their website

Amazon book - A year at Kew  Amazon book - Gardens Through Time: 200 Years of the English Garden Amazon book - RHS Plants for Places: 1000 Tried and Tested Plants for Every Soil, Site and Usage (RHS) Amazon book - RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening: RHS Bi-centennial Edition (Royal Horticultural Society)
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