Welcome to the September edition of Fiveways Gardens

Lots of herbaceous perennials (plants that emerge in spring, do their thing and die back again in winter) are way past their best and many can be cut down to a few inches above ground.  It's worth thinking about doing this even with plants that don't necessarily look scrappy, but have flowered and are now in the way of plants just coming into their own.  For example, I recently cut down a large iris, that was growing in front of some sedum and miscanthus (zebra grass).  Now the iris is out of the way, I can really appreciate the contrasting forms of the flat heads of the sedum associating really well with the tall stripy grass.  If we get a warm sunny month, some of the plants that we cut back hard now will grow fresh leaves, keeping the garden looking fresher into autumn.

Carry on deadheading late flowering plants like dahlias, rudbeckias and penstemons, as well as your annuals in hanging baskets and containers.  These can be kept going well into autumn, with a bit of tlc like this, and another feed.  If you haven't already, it might still be worth staking some of the taller late perennials like asters, to keep them looking good. 

It's also worth looking at clumps of tired looking perennials.  Many can be dug up now,  divided and re-planted.  This invigorates many plants, giving a much better show next year. There are lots of great ‘how to' videos on YouTube and the like, as well as excellent bargain books available in our local charity shops or, of course, our fab libraries, if you're not sure about whether now is a good time for a specific plant in your garden.

If you've got gaps in the borders, and you probably do, treat yourself to some late-flowering perennials, such as echinaceas, crocosmia, asters, sedums, penstemons and dahlias.  There are a few heleniums that do well in our free-draining, dry soil, but do check as most need moist soil.  They look fantastic, so worth the effort.  Finally, you'll find some fab pots of all sorts of grasses that will keep looking great well into winter and associate well with these plants.

Best wishes,


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