Sow for success with Luton Hoo Walled Garden head gardener Mary Baker

13/9/14- Battle Horticultural Society Autumn Flower Show. SUS-140913-17105500113/9/14- Battle Horticultural Society Autumn Flower Show. SUS-140913-171055001
13/9/14- Battle Horticultural Society Autumn Flower Show. SUS-140913-171055001
With the early autumn days turning from cool and misty to warm long afternoons, September is a glorious month to be in the garden.

There is a large quantity of produce to be harvested, from raspberries to beetroot, courgettes, leeks, beans and broccoli. In the flower borders, you can decide which perennials you want to cut down to the ground and which flower-heads you want to keep across the autumn and perhaps into the winter.

Look for the delicate structural quality of the heads to give some interest (no point leaving unattractive ones). It’ll spread the work of pruning and you should also find that you’ll be giving the birds a treat! We leave many seed heads here at Luton Hoo Walled Garden and have been rewarded with many finches in particular visiting the garden.

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September is a good time of year to look back and look forward. With this in mind I like to use this time to finish projects that were begun in the spring.

I can see what the garden is looking like at the moment at the end of its most flourishing season. This allows me to see what needs doing and what has worked well or if I need to redesign any plans. I also have plenty of time to work in the garden whilst the soil is warm before the heavy frosts.

There is also the advantage of a lower likelihood of drought. This means that I can sow a range of seeds (check the back of your seed packet or a good reference book to see if you can overwinter a particular sowing) and know that the soil will be moist.

The same goes for planting; in fact even more so. Plants going in now will not be subject to too cold weather but they will receive needed moisture. They will have plenty of time to establish themselves and get rooted in before the growing season.

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Do keep a special eye on new plants over the cold months, but you should find they do better than plants planted in the spring when both are faced with the drier months of next summer. There’s plenty to plan ahead for and plenty to harvest from this growing year just gone: definitely a busy month!

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