The nights are drawing in, the mornings are misty and cold. Yet we had 30 degree temperatures at midday last week. We are caught between the approaching autumn and a glorious Indian summer, making it a very busy time in the garden.
Many flowering plants will be looking a little ragged by this time of year, but you can prolong their displays by regular deadheading. This will keep autumn flowering perennials like rudbeckia and asters blooming until early winter. Sow annual flowers like sweet peas and pot marigolds to give them a head start in spring. You can plant out biennials like foxgloves to flower in early summer. Although tulips do best planted in November, most spring bulbs like daffodils and crocuses can be planted now.
The vegetable garden is replete with produce, clamouring to be harvested. Keep picking your courgettes unless you want marrows. If you are lucky, you will be hauling baby pumpkins and many varieties of squash into the kitchen. Sweetcorn must be picked at the very last minute, preferably with the water already bubbling away in the pot. Raspberries will go over fast unless you constantly pick. Early apples can be harvested, and windfalls can be composted, unless you like making cider or chutney. See the RHS website, for more tips on how to get the most from your patch this month.
Your lawn may be looking a little fed up after a long, hot summer. You can give it some much needed TLC, with a potassium-rich feed and top dressing to replenish nutrients. Repair scorched patches with turf or seed, and now is a great time of year to create a brand new lawn if so desired. Mowing still needs to be done, but less frequently and with raised blades. At this busy time of year, you may find hand propelled petrol lawn mowers like this one at http://www.chiffchaffoutdoor.com/tiger-tm4016hp-40cm-16-hand-propelled-petrol-lawn-mower.html help you tackle rough and neglected patches effortlessly.
Keep up the harvesting of tomatoes and peppers, but start to empty out old pots and initiate the winter clean up. Cucumbers and melons can be given supports, if too heavy. Even better, use up your glut with an end of season garden party to make the most of the last few days of summer. Winter will here before you know it!