Autumn garden care: discover our top jobs to do in the garden this September

Discover an abundance of garden tasks to keep you busy during the early autumn months.

As the evenings draw shorter and the first whispers of autumn begin to show, discover our list of essential September gardening jobs to prep your outdoor space for the upcoming months. From collecting seeds, mulching, planting bulbs and cutting back foliage – autumn is all about preparing for the healthy revival of spring.

The cutting garden

Plant spring flowering bulbs

In order to ensure you have flowering trees and plants in your garden next spring, be sure to start sowing and planting this autumn.

Make sure you get your spring bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and crocus’ in now as the ground will still hold residual warmth from the summer months, allowing plenty of time for new roots to establish before the spring sunshine arrives. Take a look at our favourite tulip bulbs to plant, or use a mixture of Iris reticulata, Hyacinth ‘Midnight Mystique’, Narcissus ‘Replete’, Fritillaria meleagris and ‘Ruby Giant’ Crocus, to add dramatic colour to your cutting garden and vase. Alternatively, discover our Guide to Spring Flowering Bulbs with the Burford Garden Company.

Sow hardy annuals, such as cerinthes, ammi, scabiosa and cornflowers, for flowers early next summer. Sowing early will ensure a substantial plant size which will flower up to 6 weeks sooner than those sown in spring. Consider sowing the following: bigger, briza, bupleurum, calendula, centaurea, Papaver rhoeas, Papaver somniferum, and scabious. Remember to keep them weed-free as they germinate.

Keep deadheading and weeding all your perennials

Collect seeds from perennials and annuals and store them somewhere cool and dry in preparation for planting.

Deadhead your dahlias. Cut all the tired flowers off to the buds below them. They should continue to keep flowering until the first hard frost of winter hits. Pick a few pristine heads as you go and arrange them in small glasses or bottles on the dining table.

Deadhead all your tender perennials – pelargoniums, arctotis, argyranthemums and trailing verbenas. This will give them a new spurt of life.

Pinch out the tips of wallflowers to promote bushier growth.

Prune climbing/rambling roses once they’ve finished flowering. Remove suckers from the base of roses and trees. Remove any fallen leaves from the base of roses to prevent the spread of disease.

Plant out and transplant biennials

Transplanting during autumn will benefit the plants growth in the months of cooler, moister weather ahead.

The majority of perennials, including the stately lupins, hollyhocks and delphiniums, can be grown in the nursery bed in spring, and transplanted to their permanent positions in the border in autumn, to enable successful flowering the following season.

Plant wallflowers

It’s necessary to put wallflowers in place now. These spring-flowering biennials need to get their roots down well before flowering. Wallflowers work well when planted with spring bulbs such as tulips and daffodils, which are also to be planted in autumn and can be grown successfully in pots.

Perennials, shrubs & trees

Planting

Later in the month, plant spring bedding such as primroses, polyanthus, primulas, miniature daffodils and violas for a colourful and successful spring display.

Consider planting new perennials as well as trees/shrubs/climbers.

Plant pot-grown infant trees whilst the soil is still warm and moist before temperatures drop.

Divide and replant perennials to ease any congested areas in your borders. Later in the month bring tender perennials, such as pelargoniums, inside to protect them from the frosts.

Deadheading and weeding

Keep deadheading and weeding all of your perennials.

Collect seeds from perennials and annuals and store them somewhere cool and dry in preparation for planting.

Deadhead dahlias. Cut all the spent flowers off to the buds below them. They should continue to keep flowering until the first hard frost of winter hits. Pick a few pristine heads as you go and arrange them in small glasses or bottles on the dining table.

Deadhead all your tender perennials – pelargoniums, arctotis, argyranthemums and trailing verbenas. This will give them a new spurt of life.

Pinch out the tips of wallflowers to promote bushier growth.

Prune rambling roses once they’ve finished flowering. Remove suckers from the base of roses and trees. Remove any fallen leaves from the base of roses to prevent the spread of disease.

General garden maintenance

Look after your soil

Add a layer of mulch to your borders during these autumnal months in order to prepare your soil for a successful border. Once you have weeded and prepared your borders, spread a thick layer of compost or a new layer of mulch over your bed evenly. Mulch is decomposed organic matter that helps the soil retain moisture, inhibiting weeds, and protecting the roots of plants.

Pond maintenance

Put netting across ponds to stop autumn leaves falling in and rotting.

Remove duckweed, pondweed and algae from water features and ponds.

Collect fallen leaves

Collect all fallen leaves and put them into leaf mould bags, dampen the bags and store them in a corner of the garden for a year or so. These will turn into perfect leaf mould and can be used for compost and mulching.

Be mindful to collect and bin apples, plums and pears infected with brown rot, this will help to reduce the spread of this fungal disease.

Jobs to do from your armchair

Begin planning next year’s garden by making rough sketches of your flower borders and vegetable plot. This will help you spot what worked in your garden and what didn’t and promote conscious seasonal gardening.

Get organised by ordering spring-flowering bulbs now for planting this autumn.

Order trees and shrubs. They will grow vigorously next spring if planted this autumn.

Order your strawberries, raspberries, currant bushes and other berry fruits for cropping next year as these are best planted during their dormant season.

Explore our expert gardening courses to learn more top tips and advice on maximising your garden during every season of the year.

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