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Gardener's Diary           September

Gardener`s Diary is a regular feature of run by Rosemary Martin. 

An introduction from Rosemary...    

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..



Forty first edition - September 2004

As Autumn approaches, the battering we had from storms and almost continual heavy rain during August, will have flattened and possibly waterlogged, or even flooded many areas of the UK. Hopefully, none of you suffered lasting damage to your homes and gardens.

On this rather gloomy note, it is often difficult to know what to plant in our gardens because the experts warn us about the effects of global warming and the increasing likelihood of wetter weather. Yet it doesn`t seem long ago that they were telling us how to conserve water in both house and garden, and plant our gardens with Mediterranean style plants..

This is a good time of year to evaluate the success of this year's 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 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?


Jobs for the month - September





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.








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.. I was especially pleased with the dwarf selections of mixed tulips and daffs I put in last year. As you can see here, they were splendid








The warm, wet and humid summer has meant that not only are our lawns green and lush, but many of you have been telling me about fairy rings.. I have the same problem and am trying to eliminate 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.. We`ll see what happens.





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 have made the final cut or light trim by now. There will be no new growth to hedges such as privet..




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..





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 summer we have had visits from a fox, a sparrowhawk and recently even a Goshawk, whose numbers have increased considerably, aided by escapes from falconry training and deliberate introductions. I was horrified yet fascinated to see it swoop and kill a collared dove in our garden, then shred it within minutes..


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



Seems they are finally thinking about older gardeners, with this product...

EnvirOmower; Cordless electric environmentally-friendly lawn mower...
No more arm-yanking cords or power leads. You'll never need petrol or oil again with the ENVIROMOWER; an environmentally friendly, cordless battery-powered lawn mower. FREE DELIVERY in the UK.

To find out more and buy one, go to



Malvern Autumn Garden & Country Show

: :  

25 - 26 September 2004

RHS London Flower Shows

: :  



Some of your recent gardening queries

Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming (Please tell me which country you live in - knowing the climate helps me solve your problem)

Laterlife is pleased to support the project below:-

Designed to stimulate the senses and provide a haven of peace, a place to chill-out and unwind from the stress of modern living. A garden designed specifically to be "Positive About Disabled People" and raise funds for people with Multiple Sclerosis.

Take a virtual trip around the garden, through different countries, its monthly photo galleries & artwork, explore and discover the plants, birds and wildlife, water features and wind-chimes, as we endeavour to describe the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch of the various areas. 

We hope you enjoy your visit to the Sensory Garden Project  


And 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 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...



Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming

Have a look at previous editions of Gardener`s Diary



Some websites of interest to gardeners:- 


Alan Titchmarsh MBE, TV gardener, writer, broadcaster and thoroughly nice person. Just a few choice words to describe him. See his website....



Thompson and Morgan: 


A growing resource for gardeners worldwide. The site includes the international online seed catalogues, the young plants catalogue (UK only), the wholesale seeds catalogue, together with the award winning Germination Times and a host of other useful information.


Gardening 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. 







Good 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

RHS Garden Finder is 12.99 from Dorling Kindersley




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