Gardening jobs to do in September
Who better to advise on what to plants, prune and ignore than Charlotte Tremlin, head gardener at Wormsley, the Getty family's private estate in the Chilterns
If you’re more green in the garden than green-fingered, fear not. We’ve got your back. Here’s what to do in September and beyond…
WHAT TO PLANT
Where to plant is as important as what to plant so you need to think about where you want your seasonal displays. In September/October you are planting for spring flowering bulb displays with flowers like Crocus, Narcissi, Iris, Alliums and Camassia.
You also need to start thinking about indoor and early flowering Christmas displays using Paperwhites, Hyacinthus, and Amaryllis. It’s around 8-12 weeks from planting to flowering for indoor displays and its lovely if you ‘succession plant’, so you can enjoy these over a number weeks (and have a guaranteed display for Christmas).
I also like to have some for the new year when you have taken the Christmas decorations down. It’s lovely to have a fresh indoor display of spring flowering bulbs to take away the gloom of January. So plant these at the start of November.
Thinking ahead (as us gardeners have to do), for bulbs like snowdrops and bluebells, it is best to plant or move them ‘in the green’ i.e. after they have flowered, lift the bulbs and divide them or buy from a grower (in early spring for snowdrops and late spring for bluebells).
Autumn is the best time to plant shrubs and perennials, along with spring, so consider where your gaps are and check the end height, spread and season of flowering before you buy.
WHAT TO PRUNE
At this time of year its taming wisteria and hops that keeps me busy plus tying in roses, vines, and clematis… A rule of thumb is that if it flowers before June prune in the summer, if flowers after June prune in the winter.
WHAT ABOUT TREES?
The best time to plant trees is November-March because the moisture in the ground will help with watering. But if you are prepared to water regularly – at least once or twice a week – you can plant at any time of the year.
WHAT TO IGNORE
There is always something to do in a garden at any time of year! But there is one job I delay until spring – I leave seed heads on many plants to provide structure in the garden throughout the winter. The sight of a haw frost on seed heads of plants is magical… so, hold your nerve. This will also provide food for birds and a home for over wintering insects, so it’s beautiful and great for the natural world.