Country people long ago used to say: “Summer never really begins until the elder is in flower and it never ends until its berries fully ripen.”
Now this is just as well considering the cool August winds we have just had. Crops have never really caught up from the frosty nights of April and the wet and dull May days.
Gardeners I’ve spoken to report flowers late for shows and so on.
The Harrogate Autumn Flower Show is an opportunity looked forward to by gardeners everywhere, whether showing produce or not. The show takes place on September 17-19.
There is a new venue at the magnificent Newby Hall in Ripon, HG4 5AE, just off the A1. A lot of work has been put in at Newby on roads etc to enable it to be an ideal place for the show.
It is a place to look for that plant or garden tool you have been looking for. Your admission ticket to the show also gets you in to see the hall’s wonderful gardens as well.
Advice will also be on hand from Huddersfield’s own Graham Porter. Graham is a gardner’s gardener who has the ability to solve even the most difficult questions.
One lady on his Sunday morning Radio Leeds gardening show asked: “I have a plant and something is nibbling it, do you know what it is?”
Well, that did tax Graham’s knowledge a mite! Graham will be on the garden advice bureau at the show to answer all your questions.
September is a time of reflection in our flower and vegetable gardens. Which were successful and those that have not been so good. Now is time to take stock of what to grow next year.
Keep picking runner and French beans, always pick them young, old ones can be woody.
Beds can now be prepared for autumn plantings of overwintering onions that have become popular, like ‘Senshuyi Yellow.’ Do keep watering leeks if they require it.
Feed dahlias a high potash liquid feed like tomato feed. This will encourage flowering into the autumn and harden the growth and flowers against rains that may come. A high potash feed will also benefit hanging baskets and window box plants.
Autumn is a good time to re-seed any sparse patches on the lawn. After gently scratching the surface of the lawn fresh seed can be sown and watered and protected from the birds.
And thinking of the birds, now is an opportune time to sow wild flower seed in that part of the garden which is a bit out of the way and needs brightening up next summer.
People often ask about the best way to put down a new lawn with turf – my advice is to grow a new lawn from seed. It doesn’t take that long to get a lawn established from seed, and you will have more control over the end result.
For instance, do you want a hard-wearing lawn for children to play on? Or do you want a fine lawn which will have a wow factor to impress the neighbours?
A trip to a good nursery which stocks different lawn seed mixes is the place to buy. The nursery will offer advice on your selection.
Now is the time to think of maintenance. Does the greenhouse need a coat of wood preserver and that shed as well? The first couple weeks of September can be an ideal time for such jobs.
And remember to keep any eye on those elderberries, there’s hope for a golden autumn yet…