Gardens are a labour of love and there’s no time like Summer to reap the rewards of your hard work.
So to make the most of the last burst of colour before Autumn, we’d love to see pictures of your garden in full bloom – whether you’ve got a large lawn, a little balcony or a quaint window box. Simply share your photos on Twitter @AvivaUK with #AvivaGardens.
And in the meantime, here are some key jobs to do in September to keep gardens of all sizes looking great into Autumn and beyond.
If you’ve got flowers in borders, pots or window boxes...
Deadhead plants regularly: Summer might be over but with regular deadheading you might still see another few weeks out of your flowers while the days are fairly long and bright.
Preserve plants for the cold months: Before the frost arrives, prune overgrown plants and take cuttings from anything that might not make it through the Winter. You should also move indoor plants back inside – and remember to stop feeding them and reduce watering as their growth slows.
Buy your spring flowering bulbs: Now is a great time to plant daffodils, crocuses, narcissi for next Spring. You should buy your tulip bulbs now too but hold off on planting them for another month or so.
Plan an Autumn/Winter display: Plant flowering heathers or ornamental greens now for a late Autumn/Winter display – you’ll be glad you did once the grey days come around! Make sure pots have proper drainage and are in a sheltered spot away from the worst of the weather.
Don’t forget! Mid-September is your last chance to plan hyacinths for a colourful indoor display over Christmas.
If you’ve got a lawn…
Start afresh: September is a great time to start your new lawn whether you’re laying turf or sowing seed. The ground will be soft enough to be prepared but there should be plenty of rain on the way to help it along!
Get rid of moss: It’s quick and easy to clear your lawn of moss with chemical or organic moss killer, but leave it to die off for a few days before raking. Gary Kemp, Head Groundsman at Norwich City Football Club, explains that this avoids spreading the spores further around your lawn and is a key part of getting the perfect lawn.
Apply an Autumn lawn feed: Apply a revitalising feed now to give your lawn the nutrients it needs to make it through Winter. If you choose a fertiliser over organic products, Gary Kemp recommends sticking to 12 - 14% nitrogen content, as more than that is unnatural and unsustainable for your lawn.
If you’re growing veg…
Enjoy the harvest: You should still be enjoying rewards as many vegetables from beans to lettuce and spring onions are ready for eating now. Keep harvesting regularly so they produce for longer.
Watch out for the chill: Watch out for cold nights arriving soon – exact timings will depend on where you live in the country. You’ll need to bring your remaining veg inside and keep it out of direct sunlight as it ripens.
Sow spinach and onions: These will both do well over winter and make use of what would otherwise be empty space in your garden.
Sow mint, chives and other herbs indoors: Plant up some pots of herbs on the windowsill now and they’ll be ready to add to dishes and brighten up the house during Winter.
If you’re attracting wildlife…
Feed the birds: Birds will soon be preparing for Winter and will be grateful for high-fat feeds. You can also take the opportunity to clean your feeders and bird tables to keep them hygienic.
Help the hedgehogs: You can help fatten up hedgehogs before they hibernate by serving up some meat-based dog food and a bowl of water. As the Autumn leaves start to fall, collect them into a pile with logs to make a hedgehog-friendly home.
Slugs and other pests: Put down beer traps or go out at night with a torch to try and rid your garden of slugs that will be coming out this month (avoid using slug pellets if you can as they could harm other wildlife in the garden.) September is also the best time to look for vine weevil larvae that left untouched will destroy your plants from the roots – especially those in pots.
Good luck with your September gardening, and don’t forget to take some pictures of your gardens and share them with us on Twitter @AvivaUK using #AvivaGardens. We can’t wait to see them!