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Gardener's Diary 

                              September 2008

Rose hipsSummer hasn't been too kind to us in the UK but the countryside looks lush with all the rain we've had, and there has been a bumper crop from the vegetable garden..

There is a misconception that vegetables can only be grown for summer consumption, but we have laid out a winter supply of swede, leeks, onions carrots, sprouts and parsnips, together with potatoes of course.. We've also filled our freezers with soft fruit such as blackcurrants, raspberries, gooseberries, rhubarb and blackberries.. Come the cold months we can literally enjoy the fruits of our labour..


I found a little book recently called 'The Accidental Gardener's Almanac' which I loved so much I wrote to the Publishers asking for, and receiving permission to quote parts of it for you, from time to time.. 

The book would make a wonderful Christmas or birthday present for your gardening friends or relations..

The Accidental Gardener's Almanac



September brings the ripening fruit

And windfalls from the boughs are blown

Now every garden doth transmute

Except for your disaster zone..


Reproduced with kind permission of





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..

Jobs for the month - September


Yellow Daisy

Houseplants that have spent the summer outside should now come in, before you have to start heating your home. This gives them a chance to adjust. Wash them thoroughly before bringing them in to rid them of any pests and eggs they might have attracted.


The shops and garden centres are full of spring bulbs now.. Plant them as long as the ground is workable. Tulips are the last bulbs you can plant, up to the end of December.. 


The warm and wet summer has meant that not only is grass green and lush, but many of you will have fairy rings appearing on your lawn.. I had the same problem and eliminated them by first deep forking the area, then liberally soaking it with diluted fairy liquid water (as in the washing up water) two or three times a week...



When all the crops are finished, clean out the greenhouse thoroughly. I usually recommend sterilisation or fumigation in the spring, before starting the new season crops.. But while the greenhouse is empty, check it out for repair and maintenance jobs, or a coat of paint if it is wooden.



You should make the final cut or light trim by now. There will be no new growth to hedges such as privet after September..


Fruit and veg

September is a busy month, when you reap the rewards of your labour.. Harvest your crops of fruit and vegetables on a warm, dry day (if you can find one!) and store them in a cool dry place, or according to your gardening book instructions.. Take the opportunity to check fruit trees and bushes for signs of disease and treat accordingly.


Flowers for cutting

Keep cutting flowers for the house, to encourage further late blooms. Those annual plants that have finished, such as sweet peas, can be pulled out and put on the compost heap.

Herbaceous plants

All perennial plants that have now finished flowering can either be cut down or left until the spring. I prefer to cut them down as it makes for a tidy winter garden, but foliage, whether it be dead or alive, helps keep the garden warmer over winter, so it can be left if you can bear the unsightliness of it.

Ponds and water features

Clean up aquatic plants that are starting to die back, taking care not to disturb any frogs or fish fry that might be tangled up in them.

Clean water features of algae and switch off the electricity and water for the winter months, if you have finished in the garden for the season. Some people like to cover their concrete water features with polythene to prevent frost damage..


DahliaIt's time to start feeding the birds once more, and taking note of any other wildlife that enters your garden: you might have more mouths to feed than you thought! This year I grew large Sunflowers, the heads of which I shall hang from a tree outside my kitchen window for the birds to feed on over winter.. A squirrel has already found and eaten one of the smaller ones in the garden, so the birds will have some competition

If you like birds, here is the website for you...





Happy gardening till next month....



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:

Still with the National Trust, some of the most visited National Trust properties are now holding regular farmers' and food markets.  Click here for details  and dates.



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:-

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...


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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