Richard Orton reflects on the change of season in Lewis Cottage garden. While the days are getting shorter and the mood is more relaxed, there is still plenty to do.  

With apologies to Laurie Lee, I did indeed walk out one late summer’s morning earlier this week and noticed that there was a distinct change in the air. There was a mellowness of scent about the place, insects humming and a final coda of birdsong that hung in the air and I realised that we’re on the cusp of the season; that moment in time when summer begins to give way to autumn, a little hint here and there to make the most of summer’s final weeks - and so we shall. 

Autumn Flowering Sedum

As we pack the chairs and tables away for another year we are already thinking of projects to improve the garden for 2022 and rather than thinking that the approach of autumn is the end of the gardening year, for us it’s really the beginning of the next. There are seeds to be collected and sown, cuttings to be taken and fruit to be harvested. 

Autumn Fruit

I noticed that the mulberry tree is weighed heavy with its dark fruits and I am looking forward to making mulberry gin next month. We find laying a sheet under the tree to collect fruit that falls as it ripens is the best (and least messy) way. 

A heavy crop of mulberries

Likewise, the medlars are ripening well, and there will be more quince this year than last, thank heavens, for the making of quince cheese (or Membrillo) is one of the season’s highlights.

The medlars are ripening well

So the mood music here at the cottage has changed somewhat, a little mellower and relaxed like a good brandy perhaps. The next few weeks will be spent planting spring bulbs, pricking out the remaining foxglove seedlings and stock taking the plants in the nursery ready for annual autumn sales rush (see here for details ). 

There are trees to plant, many mature ones to crown lift and of course when the weather really is too inclement there are next year’s seed catalogues to get lost in. If that isn’t enough to keep you going till next time here are some more top tips for the coming weeks

Top Tips for September 

  • Pick autumn fruiting raspberries.
  • Plant up containers for autumn interest using cyclamen, heathers and heucheras.
  • Sow hardy greens such as kale or land cress for winter pickings.
  • Look out for forecasts of early frosts and be ready to bring in tender perennials.
  • Plant new perennials, trees and shrubs. The soil is still warm and with the increased chance of rainfall they’ll have time to get established before winter. 
  • Divide and replant overgrown perennials or those that have outlived their space.
  • Start planting your spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils and hyacinths.
  • If you sowed biennials such as sweet williams or wallflowers earlier in the year now is the time to plant them out.
Sep 17, 2021

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