Plant of the Month is Sedum
When September begins and the summer bedding starts to fade, sturdy plants that gleefully spring out are Sedums, different varieties commonly referred to as the Ice Plant or Stone Crop. These are frequently seen clothed in butterflies and humming with bees. This wonderful plant species deserves five stars for its ability to thrive and survive, even in rough dry locations like difficult banks and slopes. It is fabulously low maintenance and its success is due to its thick succulent foliage which stores moisture.
Sedums are perennial and like most perennials die back at the end of the growing season. There is not much to see over the winter unless you leave on the old seed heads which are quiet decorative. Sedums grow unnoticed through the spring, their foliage blending into the garden canvas. In late summer once grown the foliage and large heads of flower cannot help to bring you pleasure. They plant well in combinations. I have the variety Munstead Red complementing vivid blue 'Rosanne' cranesbill geraniums and the rose hips on my rugosa roses. The flowers begin pink and become a deep purple red as they open. Varieties with red foliage can look striking in the right situation. It would be exciting to allow 'Purple Emperor' to blend in front of a purple smoke bush and combine it with a Pennisetum 'Rubrum', a red grass which has great autumn seed heads. Sedums really complement feathery ornamental grasses . They also plant successfully with the late summer daisies such as asters, heleniums, leucanthemums, rudbeckia and echinacea to craft a very colourful late summer early autumn border.
The old favourites tend to be Sedum spectable 'Brilliant' which is pink and about 45cm high and Herbsfreude ‘Autumn Joy’ a very deep rose pink and a little taller at 60cm.
Both these plants achieved the RHS Award of Merit. There are many new varieties of sedum all with variations in height and colour to suit every location. I really like Sedum ‘Stewed Rhubarb Mountain’ which is a paler flower, first beginning with pink buds and opening white to create the rhubarb shade! The foliage is grey green and it’s a slightly smaller plant at about 30cm tall.
We will be giving a talk about Autumn colour on Saturday 20th October at 11am
Plant Some Bedding To Enjoy Through Autumn, Winter and Spring
As the seasons shift it's good insurance to bed in some more colour and plant a few pansies, violas, primroses and polyanthus. These will bring a burst of autumn winter colour and an explosion of early spring colour. The primroses are best planted in a position with some degree of shade, if you are planning to put them in full sun make sure they are in a moisture retentive compost. We often forget to replace our hanging baskets. Baskets and containers made in the autumn can last right through until May and provide valuable colour through the winter months. Foliage can provide colour as well as flowers and there are lots of suitable herbs like thyme and sage. There are also grasses, ferns and foliage plants like heuchera, heucherella and a variety of small evergreen shrubs that combine beautifully with a few violas or pansies, providing great colour to lift our spirits when we need it most!
We will be holding a container and basket workshop on Thursday 27th September at 7pm
where you can put together your own basket or container. Please call 01280 848038 or email to book any of our talks or workshops.
Spring Bulbs go in the Ground Now
We all enjoy our spring daffodils, crocuses, tulips, snowdrops etc. They need to be planted now to do well for next year. If you want them to look natural scatter the bulbs of the same variety and plant the where they land.
September is also a sensible time to repair any holes in your lawn before winter, by scattering some seed or replacing a turf or two. The soil is still warm and it is definitely moist!
Growing Fruit is Easy
Most of us are enjoying home picked fruit of some sort. I have enjoyed my early apples and my later varieties are now becoming ripe, particularly at the top of the tree and at the ends of the branches where they get more daylight. The later varieties tend to store better.
If you love raspberries like me it’s time to start thinking about planting some raspberry canes. It's a fruit we can grow really well in the UK. They make take a year to establish but the crop should be worth it, particularly when they are quiet expensive to buy.
Our fruit expert will be here on Saturday 13th October at 11am. It is a free talk but please ring or email to book. email@example.com
This should be a month when we can make progress. The soil conditions are good for planting and we have a little while before the really cold weather is due. We can get on with pruning and cutting back hedges and repairing lawns. I am looking forward to planting my favorite Queen of the Night black tulips this week and this month there are some delightful perennials that I cannot resist slipping into my borders which will make them positively irresistible next year and I shall start with Sedums in all those difficult hot spots!