September is the time to generally wind down in the garden by tidying up, and clearing away spent vegetation and flowers and making way for new ones. If the weather is wet, then cleared ground can quickly become weedy, which should be cleared as soon as they appear. If the weather is dry, weeding will be replaced by watering.
As harvest time approaches, the garden will begin to take on its autumnal glow. The foliage on the trees will just start to begin to turn to crimsons and gold, matched by the brilliant display of berries and the last of the summer flowers. September is the ideal time to collect seeds and finish taking semi-ripe cuttings ready for next year, and to make provision for winter in the vegetable garden.
The weather is the key to gardening in September, as it will determine how much work you need to do. Some Septembers can be very mild, like an extension of summer, while others can be poor with cold and even frosty nights.
Keep a close watch on the daily weather forecast and protect tender plants if frost threatens. This can be done by putting cloches or fleece over tender vegetables, harvesting others, bringing in half-hardy and tender perennials and giving temporary cover to any established but vulnerable plants left in the ground.
Container grown plants should be given first priority, as their roots are more vulnerable than those grown in the open soil. Also keep a close eye on any newly germinated seedlings.
Remove any protective shading in the greenhouse. Damping down should be done less frequently and stopped entirely once the weather turns. You still need to provide good ventilation on hot, sunny days but remember to close vents on cool nights.
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UK gardens open in September include:
Created by Rosemary Verey.
Beautifully laid out with many attractive plants including
a laburnum arch under planted with ornamentals and
stone pathways with cushions of rock plants.
Historic arboretum, part of the Royal Botanic Garden,
Edinburgh. Beautiful woodland walks through many rare trees, rhododendrons and
shrubs. Spectacular autumn colours.
Location: Scottish Borders
Set around large and elegant house. Extensive double
herbaceous border. Autumn garden of late-flowering plants, lily pond, rock and
water gardens. Woodland and riverside walks.
Location: North Yorkshire
The country satellite of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Collections of rare trees and shrubs in a beautiful setting. Home to many acid-loving
plants, with several lakes and a bog garden.