• Instantly Impressive Ideas - September

    September 24, 2020 | Monthly Gardening Advice

    1. September Species

    Our species of the month is the Berberis Hedging plant. The Berberis family is home to a variation of colour and uses, making it an ideal plant for every gardeners needs.

    Berberis ottawensis x Auricoma is hardy and grows well in virtually any soil, including seaside gardens. This variety has vivid red leaves through spring and summer, with a fiery display in autumn, before losing its leaves for winter. It also has orange berries in the spring.

    Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea has purple leaves. Prince Charlies has a Purple Berberis hedge in one of the garden rooms at Highgrove! Berberis thunbergii atropupurpurea is deciduous and boasts yellow flowers in spring and orange fruits adorn their branches in late autumn.

    Berberis Darwinii has bunches of orange/yellow nodding flowers held on red stems in spring and small dark green prickly leaves (like tiny Holly leaves). There is a bonus of blue/purple autumn berries and sometimes a second flush of flowers.

    Berberis Julianae (Wintergreen Barberry) has an upright form and is fast growing so it quickly forms a dense hedge. The leaves are dark green and glossy, it has plenty of yellow flowers in spring and black/blue fruits in autumn.

    Berberis x stenophylla is an evergreen barberry and has small dark green leathery leaves held on graceful arching branches. In spring, the fragrant cup shaped yellow flowers smother the stems and in autumn there are plentiful blue/black berries, which are attractive to birds.

    Berberis Thunbergii has green leaves and is deciduous. It boasts orange flowers in spring and red, jewel like fruits drip from its branches in late autumn. They are tough, easy to grow hedging plants which do well in virtually any soil and situation including coastal, though they do like sun or partial shade.

    Berberis thunbergii ‘Rose Glow’, held on arching branches, is initially purple, then developing pink, cream and silver variegation which last all summer before the autumn foliage turns glowing red before dropping (both are deciduous).

    2. Gardening Advice

    The change in seasons also brings a change in the garden, music to our ears! We are over plants looking wiltered and brown lawns, time for a fresh change.

    With the change the seasons our advice for the month is- prepare! Now is the best time to move any trees or shrubs to their new homes in the garden.  Doing this now allows the plants to settle in and recover from any trauma before the harsher winter conditions set in.

    It is also a good time to prepare your soil for the new planting season. We recommend using Topsoil. This is the ideal, easy solution to improving your soil ready for new plantings. Topsoil is a specially selected, graded product and, as the name suggests, is the top layer of the soil – the upper 2-8 inches to be more precise. This section of the soil plays an important role when planting new hedges and shrubs as it supplies the bulk of the nutrients and it’s where the majority of growth takes place for the first few growing seasons.

    Another method is to add well-rotted organic matter such as compost or manure to your soil is both a traditional and effective way to improve your soil. You can start by improving the texture, digging into the soil and breaking up any large lumps which will be helpful to the root systems of new plants trying to establish. You can then dig in about half a wheel-barrow full of organic matter, ensuring as you dig back over you are making sure it’s fully incorporated into your soil.

    3. Garden Design

    Stuck in a Summer slump? We’re loving purple Autumnal shades at the minute, purple tones give your garden a fresh welcoming look and still give of bright tones on even the dullest of days. The color purple has a variety of effects on the mind and body, including uplifting spirits, calming the mind and nerves, enhancing the sacred, creating feelings of spirituality, increasing nurturing tendencies and sensitivity, and encouraging imagination and creativity. Take a look at how you can add purple into your gardens this month…

    4. Events

    Whilst these events may not be on, we thought we would still share with you the great things that have been happening each yeaer around the nation in September...

    5. Impact Plants Story for the month

    'A silver lining to the big, black cloud': allotments during lockdown

    Despite confusion over rules and shortages of compost and seeds, UK allotment holders have cherished their plots...

    On 24 March, UK allotment holders woke to a different world. Lockdown added new challenges – but also new rewards – to the business of tending their plots.

    There was confusion over lockdown rules, shortages of compost and seed, and, in England, a long, hot summer through which to keep watering. Many plot holders were deeply concerned about Covid-19: “Sowing seeds and wondering if you’ll still be around for the harvesting,” as one put it.

    But many found new solace, sanctuary and community spirit over the course of the summer.

    Those working from home found extra time to spend at their plots, while key workers gained particular pleasure from the quiet after exhausting shifts.

    Here are just a few of the experiences Guardian readers told us about, to add to the pictures we have already selected from this unique year.

    ‘Lockdown changed our lives’

    Lockdown has changed our lives and the way we operate our community garden. This is my first job in the UK. I love nature and gardening, and I’m sharing my passion and enthusiasm with our local community.

    Many local volunteers and I thought this garden was a sanctuary during the lockdown. Suddenly, the community garden became busier than ever before. We started using booking slots to enable all our volunteers to have safe access to the garden. The system has been in operation since April and keeps our project alive. We were able to grow our vegetables as usual. We had a very successful blackcurrant harvest in July. August is our harvest season for potatoes; many residents came to help and shared the harvest with locals in need.

    We also use the garden as an outdoor meeting place, and have organised free tai chi classes and a free summer school for local families.

    Winnie Hu, gardener and volunteer coordinator at the Justice Prince community garden, Longbenton, North Tyneside

    ‘A gorgeous place to declutter a key worker’s mind’

    It has been amazing. A social, but distanced space – a gorgeous space to declutter a key worker’s mind and fill it instead with sweet peas, courgettes and cherries.

    Social housing worker, Wallasey, Merseyside

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