News and announcements from Grosvenor Garden Centre, Chester


Gardening tips for September

We all know it has been the wettest summer for 100 years with heavy rains and flooding but autumn, nature’s natural time for planting,  is just around the corner.

September is the time where you stroll around your garden, take stock of which plants have thrived and plan changes and new introductions for 2013.  Plant new varieties of plants, trees and shrubs in your garden and borders this month for great reward next year.

Try Japanese anemones for good autumn colour

Try Japanese anemones for good autumn colour

Here at Grosvenor Garden Centre, we have many varieties of shrubs to choose from for spring and summer colour interest, together with hebes and buddleia for instant autumn flowers and acers for bright foliage in the autumn.

You should take cuttings from your tender bedding plants such as geraniums and osteospermum early this month and, using a seed and cutting compost, they should begin to root in as little as a few weeks’ time.  Pot them on individually before the cold weather sets in and store on a warm windowsill over the winter.

Spring flowering bulbs are a key method of introducing colour into your borders and pots and we have a wide selection in the Garden Centre now for you to choose your favourites – and maybe something new for your garden.

Miniature daisies and pansies

Miniature daisies and pansies

Crocus, daffodils and narcissi need to be planted by the end of this month to encourage new roots in the autumn.  Remember to keep a gardener’s diary or mark up each area so you know which bulbs you have planted where.  Consider their flowering period too so you can intersperse with newer varieties.

Plant up pots with a selection of bulbs and finish with autumn and spring bedding such as pansies, violas and wallflowers for a fantastic display of colour.  Layer the bulbs in deep pots to ensure a long lasting display.  Begin with a layer of compost followed by a layer of daffodils and cover with more compost.  Then move onto a layer of tulip bulbs and then complete your final layer with miniature daffodils or early crocus.  Cover with more compost and then plant bedding such as violas or winter pansies. You could include Asiatic or oriental lilies.

Remove perennial weeds from your garden this month by using a glyphosate-based weedkiller which will kill the roots of the weeds too.  If you need help choosing from our large range of weedkillers, simply ask us – we’re here to help and our team is extremely knowledgeable on this subject.

Prepared hyacinths will soon be available and to make sure they flower in time for Christmas, you simply need to place them in special hyacinth glasses so that they are just above water level. You will soon be able to see roots developing.

Hyacinths grow well in clear vases

Hyacinths grow well in clear vases

Although we are now at the end of the summer, we all hope for a few final warm days before the autumn takes hold.  Continue to water your pots and hanging baskets so that your plants and evergreen shrubs do not dry out.  You should pay particular attention to camellias and rhododendrons and any other ericaceous shrubs.  This is due to the fact that if roots become dry, they may lose all the buds for next year’s flowering. Use collected rainwater for these plants rather than tap water – is your water butt in place?  Additional nutrients fed to these plants in autumn will also cause buds to drop so any spring flowering shrubs should only be fed in the spring and summer.

An important job this month in the garden is to prepare your lawn for winter.    Rake any thatch up so that rainwater can seep through and keep the soil moist.  Spike the area to let air into the roots and improve drainage.

You also need to strengthen the grass roots, thicken the lawn and control any lawn moss so to improve the colour and strength of your lawn now, apply a dressing of autumn lawn treatment to the area.  You may find that this treatment will stimulate enough to cover any bare patches but if no, apply grass seed to these areas.

You should continue to mow the lawn but if you can, gradually raise the blades so that the cut is left around 50% longer than the summer cut.

Seed potatoes are available here at Grosvenor Garden Centre now so it is the perfect time to plant them this month ready for harvesting for Christmas!  What better meal to enjoy homegrown potatoes than with your Christmas dinner?

Homegrown potatoes with your Christmas dinner - plant now!

Homegrown potatoes with your Christmas dinner - plant now!

Certain varieties of apple may take longer to ripen after the wet summer but you can check if yours are ready by cupping the fruit in your hand and lifting it, twisting slightly at the same time.  If it comes away easily, you can enjoy the fruit now.  If not, try again weekly until they ripen.  If they begin to fall, you will not enjoy them at their eating best but will be delicious in home baking or cooking.  Store certain varieties such as Egremont Russet, Cox’s Orange Pippin and Golden Delicious for eating later.

Your edible garden harvests should now include vegetables such as French and runner beans, beetroot, courgette, cucumber and butternut squash.  A veritable feast on a plate!  You may have found your sweetcorn is taking longer than normal this year to mature, but this is a common problem so you could try feeding a soluble plant food on the foliage weekly until they ripen for cooking.

If you have not yet started your own edible garden, never fear – you can begin now by sowing lettuce and salad leaves including Chinese cabbage, chard and spring cabbage too.

Finally, the summer may have been a disappointment but we should remain hopeful for a much better summer to enjoy in our gardens next year!  Plant now and create a beautiful display for 2013.

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