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ACG Year September 2022 : Pro Gallery
ACG Year September 2022 : Text

Bright, balmy days and a chill in the evenings.  Fruits on the trees and wasps on the windfalls.  Leaves on the lawn alongside the worm-hills.  Summer is over and autumn is at hand.

Few months of the year evoke for me the magic of our seasonal climate more than September. Blessed by the seasons, the changing hues of the garden mirror the trees and grasses of Ashridge, reminding us of the cycles of Nature.

September is a busy month in the garden, when some growth has run its course, whilst new life starts to stir.  Ready to harvest from the apple tree I have painstakingly espaliered against the far fence is the miniscule crop of fruit the poor thing exhausts itself producing each year. At the back of the garden, in the shade of the hedge, I plant crocus and snowdrops in a crude imitation of our troublesome squirrels.  Seeding themselves in an anarchic frenzy are the bright yellow poppies that found their way here after the chicken coop was taken down to make way for the rockery a few years back. And the rockery rocks!  A splash of colour that seemingly lasts right through to the end of November. Now is the time when the cyclamens come into their own, along with the heathers, sedums and inexhaustible Geums.  Now is the time to do the job I like least: dividing the clumps of perennials that have outgrown their allotted space in the flower beds. And now is when I come down one morning to find that a badger has torn up the lawn. For the dreaded Chafer beetle lurks beneath our feet and the grubs migrate to the surface in autumn. Good food for badgers, but bad news for lawns.

One of my favourite plants in our garden is at its best in September: Cercis canadensis, that goes by the improbable name of the 'forest pansy'.  Standing 15 feet high, it is a spectacular small tree. With red leaves in the spring, turning green in the summer, we watch them become golden as we enter September.  As the leaves start to drop, I am reminded to tidy up the pond. The rockery has been alive with young froglets that our garden pond has produced in July, and to be certain of further success I must make the pond hospitable for next Spring's arrivals. So I scoop off the leaves and thin out the duckweed, whilst making sure we aren't too tidy: amphibians like a certain amount of dead flora as insulating clutter in which to spend their Winter retreat.

Despite all the tasks that fall in September, nothing matters more than to take the time to soak up the splendour of autumn's colours. As the leaves start to turn, fading chlorophyl reveals the underlying yellow of plants' carotenoid pigments.  But it will be the vermillion of anthocyanin that provides the Season's finale; something to look forward to when September is done.

Ted Bianco

Things to do in September


Gardeners' World:

ACG Year September 2022 : Text
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