My Burncoose




September Gardening Inspiration

September is time to prepare for autumn – nature’s natural time for planting. After the ravages of ‘the beast from the east’ in early March, and now the ravages of the summer drought, it is perhaps time to think about a few replacements.

It has been very noticeable here that many of our larger clumps of agapanthus have suffered many casualties, with only a few bulbs making it through the extreme cold. Now might well be the time to lift these old clumps, after flowering, and to split off those bulbs that are still alive and start them again.

The casualties amongst our big leaf rhododendrons and amongst some of the yakushimanum hybrids have been dreadful, although the mid-August rain did come just in time for some. Rather than planting replacement rhododendrons in the spring, it may well be an idea to consider early autumn planting which gives them a much better chance to root away and get established well before the spring. You can then enjoy them flowering in the ground.


September is such a busy time in the garden, when the autumn clear up of the herbaceous borders starts to get going properly. After such a dry summer, many things are looking autumnal much earlier than usual. In particular the geraniums, and indeed many other herbaceous plants, are setting copious quantities of seeds as plants so often do when they feel threatened by drought. Those seeds, and any old foliage, should now be removed from your plants to encourage them to conserve their energy and perform better next season. Looking today, the things which most need deseeding and deadheading, apart from geraniums, are echinops, hemerocallis, agapanthus and alstroemeria.

Turning now to more positive thoughts about autumn flowering: now is the time to really enjoy those South African bulbs which perform at this time of the year. Nerine and Amaryllis belladonna provide a wonderful and surprise display in your border, just as everything else is going dormant. Clumps of kaffir lilies (hesperantha or schizostylis) also come into their own and there is now such a great range of colours, from red to pink to white, to choose from. If you do not have these plants in your garden, now is perhaps the time to admire them elsewhere and then obtain some for yourself.

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