Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Gardener's Diary 

                       September 2010

lawnParts of our lawn have very dry patches which means that these areas have got compacted and will need aerating, which is a great job for a cooler day when you're feeling energetic.. 

The purpose of lawn aeration is to allow oxygen and water to penetrate below the surface of the lawn and to allow carbon dioxide to escape. Aeration is achieved by spiking the lawn with a garden fork driven into the surface to a depth of 3-4 inches. 

* We have had a good variety of birds visiting our garden this year including two pairs of bullfinches and a young green woodpecker which is a surprisingly big bird! Apparently some garden birds are suffering from trichomonosis which is eliminating their numbers, see the RSPB site  for further information.

* The summer is coming to an end already, but the National Trust have planned a selection of colourful events that are taking place this autumn.






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

The Kitchen Garden

The Kitchen Garden section has moved to a separate page, here...


Reduction in the watering and feeding rates should now begin gradually until the winter minimum is reached. Give the leaves of houseplants a misting with tepid water to clean them, and use a special houseplant leafshine for plants such as rubber plants and swiss cheese plants. Checkfor pests such as Mealy Bug and Red Spider Mite which can be sprayed to eliminate them. Mealy Bug is a persistant pest.


Bulbs are starting to come into the garden centres at this time of year, and September is the main month for planting them, with the exception of tulips which wait until October. If you are not planting bulbs straight away, store them in a dry, dark place with plenty of ventilation, using paper bags not polythene..


lawn tractorNow is the time of year to raise the blade of your mower and rake the lawn to remove excess debris, and runners of creeping weeds. Apply an autumn fertiliser which you will find in abundance at your local DIY store. Read instructions carefully if you have animals or children. Also aerate the lawn if you have dry patches, or areas the rain doesn't soak in to.


This month I usually fill the greenhouse with cuttings of plants such as shrubby salvias, artemisia, sage, hebes, pelargoniums and anything else I may lose through frost over winter. I keep the greenhouse doors open, and shade the cuttings from the sun until the weather turns damper and cooler, then transfer them into the conservatory before the first frosts, to be overwintered.


Complete the annual cutting of older hedges of all types. Towards the end of September is a good time to plant evergreen hedging shrubs and conifers but the site may be prepared now with lots of compost added.

zinniaFlowers for cutting

Keep cutting flowers for the house and at the same time dead-head any faded blooms. Chrysanthemums are delightful this month as are dahlias which, together with some greenery, will give you a good floral display for indoors.

Herbaceous plants

Take time to dead-head any flowers that have faded, and cut down any plants that are finished for the year. At the end of this month any bedding plants left in the borders should be removed to the compost heap and replaced with biennials such as wallflowers, sweet william and stocks.

Ponds and water features

Clear your pond of any decaying vegetation and cover the pool with netting to prevent falling leaves from going into the water. Reduce the quantity of fish food you give your pond fish. You will see that as the weather cools and the days shorten they will want to feed less and less. By the end of October they will have stopped feeding altogether for the duration of the winter. Depending on the weather, water features can be left going until the end of October.


young green woodpecker


Give bird feeders a good clean, by knocking out any congealed peanuts, and washing in a mild disinfectant. From now until the spring months make sure you always have a constant supply of bird food available to attract a wide variety of birds to your garden. They will also come to rely on you for food so do keep them topped up in all weather.. The photo on the right is of a young green woodpecker on our palm tree, if you can see him!



Want to comment on this article or ask other laterlife visitors a question?

Then click on the link below to visit the comment section of the Later Lifestyle Network, click on the 'Discussion Tab' (you can't see this until you are logged in) and Create a new topic or add your views to an existing one

Don't forget you need to login before you can make a comment.



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 DEFRA 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

back to laterlife interest

Site map and site search



Advertise on