September in your garden

Wednesday, 6 September 2017  |  Alison


It’s all change in September as the days become noticeably shorter, the sun’s rays are less strong and shadows stream across the garden in a languid manner in late summer giving a special light to all the late summer flowering perennials in the garden – a sure sign that autumn will soon be upon us and a hundred and one things to get done in the garden before winter sets in.

Here are the Brookside Nursery Top Ten Tips to keep your garden in shape during September:-

  • Order spring bulbs and autumn/winter bedding plants like pansies to give colour to borders, tubs and hanging baskets during the winter months. New to our online nursery shop and available to order now are spring bulbs of Tulips, Alliums, Chionodoxa, Daffodils, Erythronium & more. ***Our mushroom kits would make an ideal Christmas gift.
  • Sow small amounts of radish, spinach and salad greens that you can harvest later in the autumn. Seeds are available from the nursery. Sow oriental leaves too that can over winter and be picked early next spring.
  • If you are harvesting autumn-fruiting raspberries, leave the canes on and do not prune them back.  Summer-fruiting raspberry canes should have been cut back and the new stems (that will produce the fruits next year) tied in.
  • One of the things to get done in this month is dividing clumps of herbaceous perennials that have flowered and taken up too much room this year and outgrown their allotted spot. Cut back the top growth, divide the plant and replant, watering in well.  Pot up any leftover plants and give them away to friends or give them to a local charity that runs a garden. They will probably be very pleased with them.   Plants that may also show signs they need dividing are iris clumps where a central bare area is surrounded by newer productive growth.  This photograph shows the problem, so dig up the whole plant and divide it into several new clumps and replant with fresh compost and water in well.
  • Aqualegia, also known as Columbine, the pretty spring flower, will have probably set seed everywhere during the summer months, so pull out any new seedlings that have appeared that you do not require. I do love self-setters but on saying that, some need to be quietly controlled.
  • If your greenhouse is not being used greatly as the summer comes to an end, (just the last few straggly tomato plants), it may be a good opportunity to pick any remaining fruits to ripen in a drawer and clear the greenhouse and give it a thorough clean inside and out with disinfectant.  It is amazing how much ‘stuff’ can be accumulated in a few short months and regular clear outs and clean outs are essential to maintaining a clutter free and disease free environment.
  • If you have grown pumpkins and squash this season, keep them well-watered to keep the fruits growing, especially if we have a hot spell of weather again in September.  Generally the fruits are ready to harvest if they sound hollow when you tap them and they are displaying rich autumnal colours.  Leave them outside to ‘cure’ for a week or so (this just means that the skin can harden and there is less chance of the flesh inside deteriorating).  Then bring them in for storing if you are planning to keep them and use later in the season in soups and stews and pumpkin pie.


  • Beans and peas (including sweet peas) that have finished their harvest can be cut back to the ground leaving the roots in the ground to put back nitrogen into the soil ready for next season’s crops.


  • Harvest apples and pears and if you have a glut, cook and freeze them, to use later in the year. *See recipe below for a delicious apple pudding.
  • Take a critical look around your own garden or allotment, noting what has been a success OR failure and either photograph or note down these successes or failures so that next season you can try something different. Often it is the right plant but in the wrong place. Oh, the joy and pain of gardening.

Have fun and enjoy your garden!



Flaming Apple Flan

Serves 4-6

  • Enough shortcrust pastry to cover a good-sized flan dish
  • Enough apples to cover in 2 layers peeled, cored and sliced
  • ½ cup of brown sugar or honey
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 orange for zesting
  • Brandy (optional)

*Grease flan dish case well and lay in your pastry. Place the apple slices in to overlap and cover the pastry with 2 layers. You may also add plums for extra flavour if you wish.

*Combine the sugar and spices and sprinkle over the top.Cook in oven at 180˚C for 30 minutes or until cooked.

*Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.  Grate orange zest over the surface.

*Optional but fun – Pour 3 tbspn of brandy over the top of the flan and ignite. Flame should go out after a few moments as the alcohol evaporates.

*Serve with crème-fraiche or double cream and a large glass of brandy!

Recipe supplied by

Brookside Nursery