1 October 2007
With Jackie Power
A trained horticulturist and a keen organic gardener,
Jackie Power lives in Borough
As September progresses, seasonal changes begin to exert their influence in the garden.
A hint of autumn colour can be seen in some trees - in particular the Lime (Tilia europa) and Pear trees; berries are slowly beginning to ripen on shrubs like Pyracantha. The early part of the month has seen calm and settled weather with warm sunny days and low night time temperatures.
The work in the garden now consists of harvesting crops, clearing away annuals that have finished flowering and tidying perennials. Some watering is needed as the ground has dried out quickly after the deluge in August, and there has been little rainfall during September. The gardening catalogues are beginning to arrive signalling the start of planning next seasons planting!
Window boxes and pots will need attention, remove seasonal plants past their best and empty any containers that are not needed for current planting.
To prepare for new displays, renew the compost - it is possible to get away with topping up the compost if it has not been in the containers for a long time (not more than two growing seasons). Soil in pots quickly becomes worn out, and can also harbour pests and diseases; to ensure healthy growing conditions for plants it should be renewed regularly.
Evergreens can be used in container displays as a centre piece around which spring bulbs and seasonal annuals can be planted. An interesting evergreen shrub is the Pittosporum - grown for its dark green foliage. P. tobira produces small fragrant flowers and P. tenuifolium, attractive dark maroon ones, both bloom in spring and early summer. Pittosporum is slow growing but may require pruning to keep to a manageable size. In the garden P. tobira can be grown either as a specimen shrub or used as a fragrant hedging plant. Pittosporums generally tolerate sun or partial shade.
The Ornamental quince (Chaenomeles) bears large and attractive golden fruits in autumn and this year these plants have produced an abundant crop (probably due to the high rainfall during the summer). The Ornamental quince is a useful shrub and is at home in the border or it can be trained against a wall; it has year round interest, does not need pruning (except to remove dead branches) and is not fussy about growing conditions. Chaenomeles produces pure white or pink flowers in late winter or early spring and these can last many weeks; in mild winters this shrub may keep its leaves.
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