Garden Blog | September 2019
It’s September already! Blimey, this year is speeding by, and so far it’s been a good one for our gardens.
The year is not over yet though, and there are still a good number of flowering plants to brighten the borders, including those that are particular favourites of the bee population, such as Cosmos, Verbena bonariensis, and Sedum spectabile. Providing nectar for our buzzing buddies in autumn is an important part of helping them prepare for the rigours of the coming winter. Sedum in particular is popular with bees, being constantly smothered with then throughout the day. Along with other late flowering additions to the garden such as Cyclamen coum, asters, rudbeckias, and heleniums, to mention just a few, there is plenty to choose from for both bees and gardeners alike where a late season flourish is concerned.
Also still going strong are the summer displays planted in pots, troughs, and urns. If they are kept watered and dead headed they will continue to amaze and beguile with their showy displays until cut down by the first frosts of autumn. When the inevitable turn in weather occurs, we shall remove our displays and replant with hardy winter flowering plants to provide colour through into spring.
Some of the plants used in our summer displays are grown from seed sown in spring, and at the change over to the winter display these are dispatched to the compost heap. Some of the larger tender perennials, such as cannas, brugmansias, and the Nigerian black banana, are pruned back to more manageable proportions before being removed and kept over winter in a bright and frost free environment, to be returned to outdoor life next year.
Finally, we have smaller tender perennials, such as fuchsias, verbenas, and heliotropes, that are grown each year from cuttings. Those that have suitable cutting material available, such as the fuchsias and verbenas, have cuttings taken just now. Others, like heliotropes for example, do not have suitable cutting material at this time of year, so instead are pruned hard back, potted up, and returned to growth in a warm glasshouse, and after a couple of months they will have produced plenty of new growth that can be taken as cuttings. It’s not only plants for the garden that are grown from cutting at this time of year, here at Deene Park we produce masses of pelargoniums and other plants with which to decorate the public rooms in the house too. All in all our propagation bench is heaving with prospective new plants right now. In a more domestic setting, you don’t need a large propagation bench to grow your own new plants from cuttings, as there are lots of mini propagators available to buy, from the inexpensive and quite basic to the very sophisticated and pricey. Whatever your budget, there’s a propagator out there for you, together with plenty of online information as to the cutting techniques required for success with the plants you’d like to grow.
Finally, as our lavender plants on the Parterre have faded and finished flowering, it’s time to return to the formally clipped geometric pattern that will see them through the autumn and winter. When clipping lavender, this year’s new growth should be cut down to just a couple of centimetres in length, without cutting harder and into the woody part of the plant. Pruning lavender this way each and every year will keep it compact and stop it getting leggy.