In our gardens, some of the colours of summer may be fading but there is still so much to enjoy and certainly plenty to keep us busy. Late flowering perennials, such as Crocosmia, Aster, Sedum and Rudbeckia, are still looking fabulous and will provide us with colour for many weeks to come.
Those perennials that have finished can be cut back now and any large clumps divided. This helps to keep the plants healthy as you can discard the tired, central section and replant just the younger, outer sections. It’s a great way to multiply your stock and also to share plants with friends and family.
Cutting back perennials also helps you to see where there are gaps that can be filled with spring bulbs. Crocus, hyacinths and daffodils can all be planted now and will flower when your perennials are just waking up after winter, providing much welcome colour in your borders. Remember, you can also plant bulbs in containers and, just a thought, containers filled with bulbs make lovely Christmas gifts for those flower enthusiasts in your life.
Your soil will still be warm from the summer months, so don’t limit your planting to bulbs. If you feel your garden needs something new – trees, shrubs or perennials – this is the ideal time to plant as the roots of new plantings will be able to get well established before the cold weather sets in.
If you’re looking for something new to plant, I’d like to suggest Heuchera, a lovely, easy to grow perennial with striking evergreen foliage. Its leaves provide year-round colour in your border and it bears pretty flowers in the summer. There are many to choose from, with foliage ranging from chocolate brown to variegated green. Probably happiest in part shade, some will also tolerate a sunny spot, especially here in Lancashire.
Keep deadheading and feeding your summer container displays as, with good care, these will keep rewarding you with colour into the autumn. If you feel they’re starting to look tired, you can bring them back into full colour by teaming up dwarf conifers or evergreen shrubs, such as Euonymus, with Ericas (winter flowering heathers), Cyclamen and Violas.
Autumn leaf fall will begin soon so, if you have a pond, you should clear it of weeds and then net it in preparation. It’s also a good idea to treat your lawn before the leaves start falling, scarifying and aerating before applying an autumn lawn fertiliser. This will release its nutrients at a low rate, supporting the lawn through the colder months. Raise the height of your mower blades as growth slows down.