Welcome to our September newsletter

Although the days are getting shorter, and the sun is lower in the sky, the summer border is still providing plenty of colour, and plants like the ornamental grasses with their feathery seed heads, are at their best just now. You can prolong the display of summer annuals in hanging baskets and containers by continuing to deadhead, feed and water to keep them looking good into mid-autumn.

Thinking ahead… for Spring colour

September is the time to start planting spring flowering bulbs such as snowdrops, crocus, hyacinths and narcissus. Tulip bulbs are usually planted in October or November, although the best selection for you to choose from is always to be found at the start of the season.


Bulbs, bulbs, and more bulbs – they’re part of our Dutch heritage!

Our bulb shop stocks a vast range in all colours and shapes, from tiny white snowdrops to lofty Alliums, to provide interest from January right through to May next year. There are several ways to enjoy your bulbs, depending on the effect you want to achieve. You could plant them underneath shrubs and trees where they will look very natural and grow in random groups or in drifts. They can be left in the ground and over time they will spread and become ‘naturalised’. Another way to naturalise bulbs is by growing them in the lawn: daffodils look particularly stunning when grown like this and it’s a very cheerful sight when they appear as if by magic through the grass in early Spring, year after year.
Spring bulbs make a fantastic display in containers, and  the compact dwarf varieties of species narcissi such as Tete-a-Tete, Jetfire and Minnow all do very well. You can either plant up your container with the same variety, or mix different varieties of bulbs together. Sometimes, plants and bulbs that come into flower all at the same time can look more impressive than when everything comes into flower in stages, when excessive leafy growth  from the previous displays can lessen the impact of your bulbs, - but, as with so many things in the gardening world, this is a matter of personal preference.

For impact, you could try ‘lasagne’ planting, that is planting bulbs in layers in a large tub or container. To prevent bulbs rotting in waterlogged conditions, use a potting compost rather than bulb fibre, and add 10 to 15% horticultural grit. There are some beautiful new varieties of tulips available this year, such as Salmon dynasty with its yellow flowers blushed with pink tones, or Batalinii Salmon Gem with its beautiful pale orangey petals. When your bulbs are planted into their containers, it’s easy to place these in any gaps in your borders if its difficult to find any spare soil to plant bulbs in the ground.

How about creating a new garden?

September is also a good time to consider making a new garden or even just creating an extra border. As a guide, before deciding what plants to grow, there are a few questions to consider. Is the soil acid or alkaline (a soil testing kit can help there), is it a clay soil, or sandy? Is the garden sunny or shady? Perhaps it’s justifiable to be a little bit nosey, and see what type of plant grows well in your neighbours’ gardens?  Next consider what kind of theme appeals to you – is it a cottage garden, or perhaps something more formal? A Japanese-style garden, or a sunny Mediterranean feel? Whatever your preference, it’s important to try and plan for a whole year and use plants which will give interest over 12 months rather than just for one season.  TV gardening programmes can sometimes give the impression of a stunning garden looking instantly fabulous but in reality a new garden requires time and patience and sometimes trial and error too.

Why is Autumn such a good time for planting?

​​​​Trees and shrubs that are planted now have time to establish a good root system in soil that is still relatively warm from the summer, and more rainfall in the autumn means soil moisture levels are increasing too so that the plant is in a great position for good growth to start next Spring. Using some bonemeal fertilizer and adding soil improver to the soil when planting will give your plants even more of a headstart when the growing season arrives.
Plants which are at their best at this time of the year include yellow-flowered hypericum ‘Miracle Attraction’, Abelia, Perovskia, the many coloured  Hydrangeas, hardy Fuchsias, and for stunning foliage the changing leaf colours of Nandinia and the golden foliage of Leycesteria Formosa. For Perennials, go for Echinaceas, Rudbeckias, Kniphopia (otherwise known as red-hot poker), the Heleniums with their orange and yellow daisy-like flowers, the many colours of Penstemon and the deliciously scented Phlox. Another classic shrub for this time of the year is Callicarpa Bodinieri, whose leaves turn a vivid orange and red, with stunning clusters of small violet-purple berries that can be seen on bare branches till Christmas.

Planting Winter bedding

Now that summer bedding is staring to fade, it’s time to think about replanting for Autumn and Winter colour, and the winter Pansies and Violas will flower right through to next Spring. You could inerplant these with bulbs and also include grasses, or ornamental cabbages whose leaf colour intensifies as the weather becomes colder, or capsicum or chille peppers with their yellow, orange and purple fruits for a splash of hot colour.
Fiery foliage and vibrant berries will bring the growing season to a stunning finale, and the birds will thank you for the berries as the colder weather sets in. For a shady spot, try evergreen ferns or bedding cyclamen which flower through to the beginning of January or Heucheras with their leaves of greens, orange-yellow and deep purple. The many types of conifer with their evergreen foliage and different upright and spreading habits can look wonderful with winter-flowering heathers that have been interplanted with crocus or snowdrops.  When you come into the garden centre and see the stunning Autumn flowers, grasses and foliage on display,  you will be spoilt for choice, with our knowledgeable staff  on hand to help and provide inspiration and ideas for your September gardening.

We hope that you enjoy this beautiful time of year and make the most of any late-summer warmth and sunshine!

Best wishes,
The Van Hage Team