Well another Indian Summer, it’s about time we had some decent weather and it certainly has been glorious recently. Is this a pattern we should become used to? who knows, but let’s make the best of it while it lasts.
The summer bedding, hanging baskets, pots and containers look as good as ever with regular dead heading and feeding, but it is a good idea to plant up your winter containers and baskets now so that they mature in time for when the first frosts destroy all that summer colour. Pansies are the winter stars with their bright colours and cheerful ‘smiley’ faces, and I always put some into 2 litre pots so that they are a good size to transplant to the borders.
This is a good time to think of lawns. Grass growth is slower so raise the mower a notch and apply an autumn feed together with weed and/or mosskiller if required. Poor patches and new lawn can be re-seeded or turfed now, but remember, as always, careful preparation is the key. I am currently seeding a small wild flower meadow and, having rotovated the area six times to a fine tilth and killed several crops of weeds, I am now ready to sow followed by raking and rolling. With careful management it will look spectacular in a couple of years time. If you should be contemplating something similar and need advice please let me know.
We have a saying in the trade “Autumn is Nature’s time for Planting”, and if you think about it, it is the time when all the seeds are distributed for the following year and farmers plant their hardy crops knowing that they will have the best start. Before the container revolution and the availability of pot grown plants all year round, ‘field grown’ or ‘bare root’ trees, shrubs and perennials were only available to gardeners through the winter months, and it is still a good time to buy these plants.
You will remember earlier in the summer I advised contemplating your borders (over a nice drink!) to decide where there are gaps to fill and changes to make. Well now is the time to act and to plant now will provide an extra 4 months of establishment time and cut down some of the need for watering next summer.
Now is a good time to cut all hedges, particularly evergreens, before we have severe frost, but do leave those with berries until the birds have stripped them. Now there’s some moisture in the ground, plant bulbs to give you that blaze of colour in the spring - miniature narcissi can be an interesting addition to baskets and containers - but daffodils can look very messy whilst they die back and are best at the back of borders or around trees. Well enjoy the Indian Summer while it lasts - it could be very different when I write November’s Ramblings.