Laura's column Sept 09

What a rainy end to the holidays. Let's hope September brings more sunshine. As usual there are many jobs to be done around the garden and here are but a few:

Continue dead heading and watering hanging baskets and pots - give them a liquid feed - this should keep them looking good until the first frosts arrive.

Alternatively, think about winter pots. Winter pansies are the firm favourites bringing colour until early spring. Also try conifers and heathers underplanted with dwarf blulbs.

Now is the time to think about geranium cuttings which will save you a fortune next year. Each cutting should have two or three leaves and use half and half compost and grit mix to ensure free drainage. Make holes around the edge of your pot and pop your cuttings in. Water infrequently (compost just moist) and place out of direct sunlight in a warm room.

Strawberry plants can still be bought. "Everest" is a perpetual variety which tastes delicious.

Give lavender a haircut as the flowers begin to fade - this stops them becoming leggy.

Collect flower seeds such as poppy and sow them at the beginning of the year in seed trays for a spectacular display later in the year.

If you have a pond, prepare it for winter by removing any dead leaves floating on the surface. Also cut back some of the more vigorous plants.

Rambling roses can be pruned in September - this will promote flowering and healthy new growth for the next year.

This autumn why not plant shrubs and perennials that will encourage wildlife in your garden (if you live near a pub no need to bother!)

Some suggestions:

Taxus baccata - (berries in the autumn provide Cotoneaster Callicarpa ( food for birds

Buddleia - counted 15 butterflies on mine this morning

Achillea ) bees love Lavender ) these

This is the month to buy your spring bulbs - what a range to choose from:

Alliums, dwarf daffodils, tulips, winter aconite, crocus to name but a few.

Finally, in the kitchen garden winter salad crops can be sown from now until mid-November, but choose a sheltered south facing spot with planty of free drainage. Protect seedlings from frost by using fleece or a cloche.

Other crops to try: land cress, endive and rocket - go on give it a try!
Laura's column Sept 09

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