So September is drawing to a close, taking with it our last faint hope of an Indian summer.
Disappointing as it has been, don't blame the garden for perhaps not living up to expectations. Neglect it now and your winter outlook will be grim, and come next spring, whatever the weather, you'll find yourself with a whole lot more hard work to do.
Give the lawn a bit of TLC. September is the best month to seed and get the weeds cleared from your lawn. Fertilise the soil (preferably using organic fertiliser) just before or after seeding and you will get stronger, greener grass. If you use weed killer to clear the lawn first you will have to wait three weeks before you seed the area.
Fungal diseases are more prolific at this year due to the wet weather. Look for mildew and rust, especially on roses, and pick up any diseased leaves. These should not be added to your compost heap, burn them so it doesn't spread to other plants.
The onset of winter doesn't mean you can't keep sowing and growing. You can continue to sow vegetables - cabbage and broccoli, kale, radishes, garlic and onions can all be sown now as well as some varieties of spinach, turnip and lettuce. Direct sow hardy annuals such as cornflowers, annual poppies and larkspur, which will flower early next year. California poppies can be sprinkled direct into your borders for stunning colour late next spring and love-in-a-mist will over-winter happily and are prolific self seeders! You can also sow delphiniums where you would like them to flower next summer.
If your houseplants made it outside at all this year it's time to bring them back inside as they will not appreciate the colder temperatures. Instead of just plonking them on various windowsills, why not consider building up an indoor garden as a focal point (and to make sure no plant gets missed in the watering process!). Add some height with an indoor conifer or drama with a Madagascar dragon tree.
As summer has ended, this is your last chance to go and pick fresh summer fruits such as apples, pears, blackberries and blueberries. Spend a day in the kitchen making pies, jams and preserves to freeze or give as gifts.
It's time for some autumn cleaning. You need to make sure you have enough space in your greenhouse for plants that are tender and need care over the winter. It might be worth getting a thermometer to put in a shaded area of your greenhouse so you can check that the temperature is not dropping too suddenly.
Even though the garden is dying back, remember to still take care of your plants, pruning, tying in, dead-heading and clearing away leaves. These are all important jobs to keep on top of on the days the weather still allows us time in the garden, and will ensure the view from your window when you cannot get out is not a depressing one!
Let's not be too downhearted about the summer that hardly was, we have the gorgeous shades of autumn to enjoy and the dazzling spectacle of frosts in the winter sunshine to look forward to.
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