Despite the weather seeming to be doing its own thing, we’re officially into autumn. BBQs, picnics and enjoying a G&T in the garden will soon be distant memories. And there will be fewer visitors appraising your garden, which is a good thing really as most things are going off the boil and looking a little bit sorry for themselves.
But now is the ideal time to start getting the garden into shape for next year, particularly if you’re planning on putting your house on the market in Spring of 2017.
Time For A Transplant
Now is a good time for transplanting or dividing anything that you feel would look better – or fare better – elsewhere. Most trees, shrubs and perennials have stopped producing leaves, whilst flowers are starting out on a period of vigorous root growth. So they won’t mind being shifted and it might even benefit them if there are some different nutrients for them to get their roots in to.
This will also give them around two months to settle in before they go dormant for winter.
Spring Bulbs & Bedding Plants
Many garden centres are promoting spring bulbs at the moment. It’s a good time to buy them as they want them out of the way come October so they can start pushing Christmas, which means if you wait it out until the end of the month, you’ll probably land yourself with a bargain. However, wait until October and November before you actually plant them.
It’s also a good time to get bedding plants like pansies, wallflowers and sweet Williams into the ground for an early spring display.
No-one likes weeding, but it is an excellent time to invest in this chore. Weeds left to do their own thing over winter will come back stronger and more difficult to get rid of come the new year so it really is worth your while tackling the job now.
If you’ve recently moved house, you might want to think about starting your compost this month. It will allow sufficient time to have it ready for digging in next spring to give your garden much-needed nourishment.
Many local councils offer compost bins at a good price or you can simply start a compost heap. Garden cuttings and kitchen peelings are a good source of material, but never included any diseased or pest ridden plants.
Overhaul The Greenhouse
Give your greenhouse the September equivalent of a spring clean to get rid of any pests that might decide to over-winter in a nice warm environment. That way you’ll give your new plants the best possible start come the new year.
Lots of your hard work will be coming to fruition in the garden now in the shape of fruit and vegetables.
Blackberry & Apple Cake
It’s been a bumper year for blackberries, so why not get out there whilst there are still some around and enjoy a delicious blackberry and apple crumble using your home-grown apples too (or buy them, who cares). Here’s a rather lovely alternative to crumble – a blackberry and apple cake courtesy of www.bbcgoodfood.com
- 125g softened, plus extra for the tin
- 125g caster sugar
- 3 large egg, beaten
- 50g ground almonds
- 100g self-raising flour
- 2 Discovery Apples peeled and cored, each cut into 12 segments
- 100g blackberries
For the topping
- 1 large pinch cinnamon
- 2 tbsp demerara sugar
- 25g butter cut into flakes
- 25g peeled & toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- icing sugar, for dusting
Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Butter a 22cm round loose-bottomed cake tin and line the base with baking parchment. Beat the butter and caster sugar together in a large bowl until it is light and fluffy. Gradually pour in and beat the eggs, a little at a time, until you have used two-thirds, adding flour if it curdles. Fold in the remaining egg, the ground almonds and finally the flour, and combine everything gently.
Add two-thirds of the apples to the cake mixture and all the blackberries. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth it out evenly. Scatter the remaining apples over the surface of the cake. For the topping, sprinkle over the cinnamon, demerara sugar and butter. Bake for 50-55 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and scatter on the toasted hazelnuts. When the cake is cool, dust lightly with icing sugar. Serve in slices.