Paul Her­vey-brookes on the jobs to do in Septem­ber

With the scent of au­tumn now on the breeze, make the most of the re­main­ing sunny days in the gar­den

Cotswold Life - - CONTENTS - Paul Her­vey- brooke sis an in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned de­signer, plants man and RHS judge. Al­lo­mor­phic, Paul’s gar­denin­spired shop, is lo­cated in Stroud­lo­mor­

Rud­beckia, althea, ver­bena and a host of late sea­son plants keep up the good cheer by bring­ing burnt oranges and sparkling yel­lows into the gar­den. Septem­ber is the first month you can smell au­tumn on the breeze but there are plenty of warm sunny days still to be had.


There’s plenty of dead­head­ing to be done this month to keep an­nu­als and other flow­er­ing plants go­ing. This is also the month to stop dead­head­ing cer­tain plants you ac­tively want to let self-seed, or col­lect the seed to sow later in the au­tumn or next spring.

Dahlias re­ally are a star per­former this month. They will keep flow­er­ing un­til the first hard frost, so dead­head and pick for vases. Pe­largo­ni­ums and other ten­der an­nu­als which have been put out for the sum­mer can be given a good dead­head and trim to give them a fresh burst of life for the next few weeks. In cold frames or the green­house, be­gin sow­ing an­nu­als and short-lived peren­ni­als for next year; you will get much big­ger, stronger plants this way and en­sure lots of flow­ers. You can also pot up next year’s spring bulbs now – they may not show for a while, but they will start de­vel­op­ing roots and make for stronger flow­er­ing plants in the spring.


If you are mak­ing large-scale changes to your veg­etable beds, this is the month to do it – I am mak­ing wat­tle edges to mine and rais­ing the soil level with or­ganic mat­ter. If you are sim­ply clear­ing your beds, then sow green ma­nures on any beds you are not us­ing over win­ter; this re­duces soil ero­sion and will en­rich the soil for next year.

Beans, peas and any other legumes can now be chopped to ground level, leav­ing their roots in the soil to be dug in; this is a valu­able ni­tro­gen­fix­ing plant and will im­prove the soil for next year’s crop!

There are still six good weeks ahead of us if you act fast, so spring onions, radish, hardy peas, rocket and broad beans can still be sown for a late sea­son crop, and a fresh bed can be pre­pared for au­tumn shal­lots. Think now about gar­lic va­ri­eties in ad­vance of sow­ing as the rule of thumb is plant on the short­est day and har­vest on the long­est! This is also the right time of year to sow co­rian­der; it will re­ward you with vig­or­ous, tasty leaves for spring next year. Lastly, cut to the ground herbs such as chives, sor­rel and, if not be­ing left to seed, lo­vage – this, with a lit­tle feed, will be sow­ing fresh, new leaves in a cou­ple of weeks.


Un­like the herb ver­vain (ver­bena of­fic­i­nalis), the tall­grow­ing ver­bena bonar­ien­sis is a na­tive to trop­i­cal South Amer­ica which gar­den­ers have in­creas­ingly wel­comed into the gar­den. Still in flower into Oc­to­ber, these tall, wil­lowy short-lived peren­ni­als can reach over 2m in height and are eas­ily grown from seed. So pro­lific in fact are they that in warmer places they have nat­u­ralised them­selves. In Wash­ing­ton State, whole fields can now be seen with their square-topped flow­ers smoth­ered in bees and but­ter­flies. Sown this au­tumn they will make tall, open flow­er­ing plants next year in the gar­den and are well worth the min­i­mal ef­forts in­volved!

SEPTEM­BER The count­down to au­tumn be­gins with RHS Malvern Au­tumn Show, and I will be there ob­serv­ing the Flo­ral Mar­quee judg­ing process be­fore lead­ing an RHS tour to Italy. It will be a busy month as I am also run­ning a se­ries of day cour­ses on gar­den de­sign at Al­lo­mor­phic and host­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion of paint­ings by Betty Har­ri­son.

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