This is the time of the year when gardens, window boxes and pots can start to look a little sad. However, there is no reason why we should consider this to be the end of the season. September and October can be wonderful months and in order to enjoy your garden there is much that you can do.
Firstly, dead heading is not only a very therapeutic garden job, it will also spur your plants on to produce more blooms. if you don’t dead head plants believe their life’s work is done and they can metaphorically sit back and just produce seed for the next generation. Chop those dead flowers off and they have to start all over again. Roses are a great case in point, the sooner you remove faded blooms the sooner new buds will appear and combine that with a decent fungicide spray to ward off the black spot and mildew and you could have flowers until November. Similarly many shrubs such as Hebes will continue to flower if you take the trouble to snap off the old flowers.
Many herbaceous perennials such as Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) and hardy geraniums such as Geranium sylvaticum ‘Mayflower’ (pictured) can be looking scruffy as they sprawl over the ground, but a good haircut, taking off the old shoots and a sprinkling of fertiliser will result in luscious new growth very quickly and often a late flowering.
Sweet Peas can fizzle out about now, but I have found that very often mildew has taken a grip and that an application of a systemic fungicide such as Fungus Clear plus a top up with a general fertiliser, well watered in if the weather is dry really gives them a great fresh burst of life and flowers for weeks to come.
Window boxes and tubs will benefit from a good sort out and if necessary replace a plant or two, – there are plenty of pot fillers that will carry right through the autumn. But, feeding is crucial, and if pots haven’t been fed through the summer it is not too late to put a bit of life back, – a weekly feed with Miracle-Gro or any other plant food is all that’s needed.
Happy gardening, and if you have any gardening queries feel free to email me via the contact form and I will endeavour to answer them.