THE START OF AUTUMN

Summer is drawing to a close and autumn is just around the corner – what a perfect time to think about planting

Now is the time when the soil is warm and the autumn rains will get plants established before the winter sets in. It’s also a good time to take stock of your garden and think about any changes or plans you want to make.

Keeping colour in borders for as long as possible is top of the ‘to do’ list for September, so you may like to consider incorporating late summer or autumn flowering plants such the Aster. The name Aster comes from the ancient Greek word for ‘star’, although they are often referred to as Michaelmas daisies because of their typical flowering period in the autumn. Asters come in blue, purple, red, pink and white each with a yellow centre. There are numerous varieties of Aster, from dwarfs that measure less than a foot tall to versions that can reach up to eight feet. All varieties make for good cut flowers and are easy plants for beginners to try in the garden. They thrive well in drained, fertile soil that retains moisture and prefer full sun or partial shade.

It’s also the time of year that nurseries and garden centres have great offers on big bags of mixed Daffodil bulbs, in all shapes and sizes. They can grow pretty much anywhere, even through the lawn. The easiest way to work out how deep to plant your bulb is to dig down approximately three times the depth of the bulb – but be warned, if you plant Daffodils too close to the surface they often won’t flower. You can plant Daffodils, and Crocuses, from September to October – as many as you can get into the ground or in containers. Once planted you need do nothing else to them other than wait for a stunning show in the spring. If you’re planting in lawns, cut out three sides of a square and lift back the turf, put in a few bulbs and then firm the turf back again.

As it’s bulb season, you could also plant hyacinth bulbs in pots, by mid-September, so that you have a glorious Christmas display. Once the hyacinths are planted in a pot, put in a dark cool place (a garage or shed) for 10-12 weeks and then bring out into the light so flowering can start.

September is when autumn begins to creep into your garden, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to let it all go to seed – keep busy with the following jobs:

• Look after your lawn – weed it and seed it
• Pick and harvest summer fruits
• Bring tender houseplants inside
• Continue to sow vegetables
• Clear out the greenhouse
• Collect and sow seeds gathered from plants in the garden
• Plant spring flowering bulbs

National Garden Gift Vouchers can be bought and redeemed at around 1,800 outlets in the UK, with more than 90,000 garden plants and products on offer. Visit www.thevouchergarden.co.uk to see the outlets that sell and accept them. You can become a fan and buy vouchers on facebook: www.facebook.com/GardenGiftVouchers or follow on twitter: @GardenGiftVouch or via the blog at: www.vouchergardenblog.com

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Tedd Walmsley

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