The cooler days of September are perfect for tidying and rearranging the borders. One of the main tasks is dividing overgrown clumps of herbaceous perennials. Plants older than three years quickly lose their vigour if left unattended. Use two garden forks placed back to back to prise them apart. Replant sections from the edges of a large clump as this is where the newer, stronger growth will be. Perennials to divide include hardy geranium, lily-of-the-valley, delphinium and verbena.
Autumn leaves can be harmful to garden ponds as they will slowly pollute the water and deprive the inhabitants of oxygen. Ponds need to be maintained by reducing overgrown aquatic plants and removing the silt which settles at the bottom. To prevent fallen leaves blocking the pond even further, use a fine mesh netting to keep them at bay. Secure it a few inches above the pond’s surface to help local wildlife continue to have access.
Scarifying will quickly improve the health and appearance of the lawn by raking out the thatch and moss that has built up over the months. Removing debris enables oxygen and moisture to reach the roots of the grass and encourages fresh growth. On heavier clay soils aerate the lawn by spiking it with a garden fork to prevent the area becoming waterlogged. Carefully dig out stubborn weeds such as dandelions and daisies, reseeding as necessary.
Plant Spring Bulbs
Planning for spring displays of colourful daffodils, hyacinths and crocus is a job to start as soon as possible to allow the bulbs to settle in before winter. An average guide is to plant the bulbs to a depth of twice their size using either a trowel or a specialised bulb planter. Imaginative displays include miniature narcissi, muscari grape hyacinths and snowdrops in the rockery. Layers of bulbs can be planted in tubs to create a long lasting display.
Collect fallen leaves and store them in a compost bin or alternatively, make a cylindrical container from a set of canes encircled with chicken wire. The leaves will eventually decompose into a crumbly mixture known as leaf mould which is extremely rich in nutrients. It can then be sieved to produce a finer grade of compost which is ideal for sowing seeds in the spring. For further advice and ideas for September contact Garden Club London.