Gardening tips to help you fall in love with autumn

Asters, a fantastic late-flowering choice, come in blue, purple, red, pink and white varieties, each with a yellow centre.
Asters, a fantastic late-flowering choice, come in blue, purple, red, pink and white varieties, each with a yellow centre.

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With summer drawing to a close and autumn beginning, it is a perfect time to think about planting as the soil is warm and the seasonal rains will get plants established before winter sets in.

It is also a good time to take stock of your garden and think about any changes or plans you want to make.

Keeping colour in borders for as long as possible is top of the ‘to do’ list for September, so you may like to consider incorporating late summer or autumn flowering plants such as the aster.

The name aster comes from the ancient Greek word for ‘star’, although they are often referred to as Michaelmas daisies because of their typical flowering period in the autumn.

Asters come in blue, purple, red, pink and white varieties, each with a yellow centre.

There are numerous varieties of aster, from dwarfs that measure less than a foot, to tall versions that can reach up to eight feet.

All varieties make for good cut flowers and are easy plants for beginners to try in the garden.

They thrive well in drained, fertile soil that retains moisture and prefer full sun or partial shade.

It is also the time of year that nurseries and garden centres have great offers on big bags of mixed daffodil bulbs, in all shapes and sizes.

They can grow pretty much anywhere, even through the lawn.

The easiest way to work out how deep to plant your bulb is to dig down approximately three times the depth of the bulb – but be warned, if you plant daffodils too close to the surface they often won’t flower.

You can plant daffodils, and crocuses, from September to October – as many as you can get into the ground or in containers.

Once planted, you need do nothing else to them other than wait for a stunning show in the spring.

If you are planting in lawns, cut out three sides of a square and lift back the turf, put in a few bulbs and then firm the turf back again.

As it is bulb season, you could also plant hyacinth bulbs in pots, by mid-September, so that you have a glorious Christmas display – creating a scented centrepiece or gift for gardening friends and family.

Once the hyacinths are planted in a pot, put in a dark cool place – a garage or shed – for 10 to 12 weeks and then bring out into the light so flowering can start.

September is when autumn begins to creep into your garden, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to let it all go to seed – jobs for this month suggested by the Royal Horticultural Society include:

  • Look after your lawn – weed it and seed it
  • Pick and harvest summer fruits
  • Bring tender houseplants inside
  • Continue to sow vegetables
  • Clear out the greenhouse
  • Collect and sow seeds gathered from plants in the garden
  • Plant spring flowering bulbs