Colin Dale, head plant buyer at Notcutts, gives his top tips for getting the best out of your garden this September.
Pull them up!
A day with some warm autumn sunshine at the end of the month is an ideal time to lift onions. Place them on a sunny path or in metal racks to complete the drying process before storing them in a cool place for use through the winter. Main crop potatoes can also be lifted now. Gently remove excess soil but do not wash the tubers as they will keep better (and so hopefully taste better!) if the skins are not damaged.
Give your garden a spring (or rather autumn) clean
Borders can be tidied up now by cutting down perennials that have finished flowering. The soil is still warm enough to divide any congested clumps by lifting them and replanting some of the younger, more vigorous pieces, discarding the old woody growth from the middle of the plants. Any shrubs that have outgrown their place can be moved from the end of the month onwards and stay in its new place until next February. Prepare the new position well, adding some general fertiliser and homemade compost before digging up the plant with as much root as possible. Make sure you water in dry weather until the plant has established itself.
Enjoy the colour
There is still plenty of colour to be found in the garden this month with perennial asters, rudbeckias and a riot of daisy flowers enjoyed by bees, flower arrangers and gardeners alike. Dahlias are still in flower with their striking blooms that are so valuable for cutting and japanese anemones are starting to flower in pink and mauve shades as well as glistening white. Make the most of this colour sensation outdoors or bring your favourites inside with a strikingly colourful flower arrangement.
Do your bit for birds
As you begin to tidy your garden for the autumn, remember to leave seed heads and berries for the birds. You can really make a difference to the feathered friends in your garden by setting up feeding stations and leaving seed heads on plants for them to enjoy through the autumn. Visit your local garden centre and choose from the range of shrubs and trees with berries to attract thrushes and blackbirds in particular. These will provide valuable food through the autumn and early winter as the birds ‘fuel up’ before the colder months.
There's more gardening advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.