September, the month of “misty, moisty mornings”, often wrongly attributed to Shakespeare, is in fact a line from an old English nursery rhyme, be that as it may, with the misty mornings, it just give a different perspective in the garden, what can be more beautiful than the water droplets on cobwebs, sparkling like jewels in the early morning sunshine, is a cheering sight first thing in the morning, despite the Autumnal air. As we are now on the brink of Autumn looking back on the year, starting with those long cold days, snow & that long dry spell throughout July & hosepipe pipe ban in August, one way and another it has not been the easiest year for us gardeners, but a great year for soft fruit. If we have early frosts the transition between Summer & Autumn can seem abrupt, yet again in some years, fine weather can continue right through to the end of the month. This is the month you need to be especially alert to changing weather conditions to get one step ahead, so that everything that needs to be completed, before the first frosts arrive, is achieved. Many Summer plants are now past their best, and now is a good time to clear them away and add them to the compost bin. On the subject of compost bins, this month is an ideal time to empty them out fork them over, mixing well & chopping up with a spade, any large lumps and putting it all back into the compost bin, this will speed up the de-composition & make great compost. I digress, we should now be looking at lifting tender perennials such as geraniums, dahlias & fuchsias, storing in a light, frost free place, if space is at a premium, take cuttings just in case the parent plant dies. If you wish to leave in the ground, such plants as gladioli & dahlias, cut back any hollow stems to prevent rainwater running down into the tubers/corms causing them to rot. Move late flowering chrysanthemums into the greenhouse, also before the first frosts. Bring in house plants that have been standing outdoors for the Summer, this includes any container grown citrus plants. For a really early display of sweet peas, these can be started off at the end of the month. It is still not too late to take cuttings of all your herbs, next year when these cuttings are nice healthy plants, just keep a few back for our plant sale next May, it may seem, a long time off but you need to start now, any contributions, you make, are always welcome & greatly help to fund our Club activities. You can make a start on some of your herbaceous perennials, lifting & dividing, including bearded iris, but leave the tubers on the surface for a few weeks before re-planting, do not completely cover the tubers as you will not have any flowers next year, cut back the foliage to one third. Cut back your climbing roses, reducing new growth to a reasonable length, to avoid next year’s growth being just on the end of long bare stems. Bush roses, these can be pruned now just to shorten the stems to reduce “wind rock” in the Winter winds, final pruning can be carried out in February. In the fruit garden pick plums & damsons, when ripe,& beat the wasps to it! Harvest & store apples and pears, in a cool dry place, ensuring they do not touch each other, causing rot. This month you can plant out Spring cabbage, sprouts, sprouting broccoli & Spring cauliflowers. Make sure you plant your brassicas deep, to stop them “blowing” later on, due to torn roots caused by wind damage. Sprouts & sprouting broccoli benefit from staking & tying, for added safety of these tall plants. In the greenhouse remove all shading to make the most of the shorter hours of daylight, closing the vents in the afternoon to conserve heat, reduce watering and only water in the mornings, as damp conditions, at night, help mould to develop. Tomatoes, leave on the vines, but pinch out any new flowers this will divert energy to the remaining fruits to speed up ripening, removing the leaves will also helps, plus stop watering the vines. Lawns; mow less frequently now, raising the blades as growth slows, apply a slow release Autumn feed, after first removing the “thatch”. Pest and diseases, continue to treat these, ignoring them will only store up problems for next year, the same goes for weeding, if they seed you will have many more weeds to deal with next year.