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Gardener's Diary 

                              September 2009


butterflyMake the most of the last few weeks of summer by visiting some late flower shows, having a barbecue, or just plain lazing in the garden, because all too soon the days will be shorter and summer will be just a memory.. 

Me, I am following the dogs` example and watching the butterflies flying haphazardly around the garden.

Why not be thrifty and collect your own flower seed for next year?

This is a good time of year to evaluate your garden. Make a list of things that will help you improve your garden next spring, such as:-

  • Is my garden safe for myself, family and visitors such as grandchildren?
  • Is the garden getting too much to manage comfortably?
    If so, how can I ease the workload?
  • Are the boundaries safe and secure?
  • Are the garden ornaments and shed secure?
  • Are the trees secure and storm proof?






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

House plants

Cut down on watering and feeding gradually this month, until the winter minimum is reached. Ensure plants are in tip top condition and sited correctly, which will see them through the winter months.


Mower blades should be raised a notch to give a longer cut, and the lawn will benefit from a good raking to remove any loose cuttings and runners from creeping weeds. Finally apply an autumn weed and feed, taking care to follow instructions regarding the composting of treated clippings. September is also a good time for remedying any deficiencies that come to light in the summer months.



Herbaceous borders

Continue dead-heading flowers, and 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 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.


vegetablesThe ground is gradually becoming visible again now that some crops have finished and have been cleared to the compost heap. Most of the summer crops, beans peas, cougettes, sweetcorn etc. will be finishing now, but with winter crops looking good, all is not lost. Leeks, swede, parsnips, brussels and sprouting broccoli will soon be offering themselves up as replacements for the table. Make the last sowings this month for hardy spring onions and Chinese cabbages, and plant out Japanese onions and garlic to overwinter. Sow Broccoli, cauliflower and onions for overwintering under glass. Complete the harvesting and storage of maincrop potatoes and onions and dig the ground over when cleared to expose grubs and pests to the weather and to birds.


Continue to pick late raspberries, blackberries, loganberries etc. When the late raspberries have finished they can be cut down level with the ground, as they will grow and fruit again next year within the season. Summer fruiting varieties should have this years fruiting canes cut to the ground and the new canes tied in which will fruit next summer. Continue to pick and store apples and pears when ready and give any final pruning to gooseberry and currant bushes, to clear old wood and open up the centre of the bushes.


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 be thrown out too as they are more hindrance than help in the winter, because they become inactive as oxygen-producers, but contribute to the production of toxic gases as some of their growth decays.

wasp trapWildlife

September - the month of the sleepy wasps and small animals getting ready to hibernate. There are many more wasps than usual this year and we have had great success with our home made wasp traps which have caught literally hundreds of them. Hang up a plastic bottle with a couple of small holes cut into the sides and filled with a cup of syrupy liquid (I found honey mixed with water to be the favourite). Using a pastry brush, paint some neat honey around the insides of the holes to tempt the wasps in..  See photo on the right!

Bird feeders and the bird table have been cleaned up ready for another season of feeding the bird population. I make "fat balls" for them by gently heating lard, mixing in bird seed and forming balls when cooled, then putting them in the netting that oranges and onions come in, and hanging them around the garden..



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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.



RHS 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 special seasonal offers


Some places to 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

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