What to do in the Garden in September

Dead-head Roses

As autumn approaches you will need to deadhead your roses more and more regularly. Cut off each spent flower head as and when you spot them. On floribunda varieties, wait until all of the flowers on the stem have passed and cut it off at the base (where it meets the branch). 

Leave old flower heads on rose varieties that produce attractive hips. Not only will they add extra colour to the garden in the winter, but they’re a good food source for garden birds such as Tits, Thrushes and Blackbirds at a time when food is otherwise scarce.

Rake Fallen Apples

Fallen apples soon start to rot on the floor and can cause an unsightly mess. Rake them up and put them on the compost heap before they get too sticky and attract wasps.

Cut Back Perennials

Many varieties, such as Asters, Chrysanthemums and Delphiniums continue to show their flowers well into the autumn – those that still look good should be left until they’re well and truly finished, others that have started to die back should be cut right down to 2 – 3 inches above ground level.

If you have a large herbaceous border it can take a long time to cut back all the stems with secateurs and it can cause strain on the hands and wrists. The same job can be done more rapidly with shears.

Some Perennials, such as Echinacea, Acanthus, Eryngium and Honesty produce attractive seed heads after flowering and produce a stunning show through the winter. Plants that you keep for seed heads over the winter can be cut back in January instead.

Collect Seeds from Summer Flowering Perennials

Hollyhocks, Digitalis and Poppies are great examples of plants that produce fantastic seed heads that can be collected and sown for flowers the next year. Snip off all of the seed heads that you will need and keep them in a cool dry place for the winter. Towards the end of winter (January – February) your seed heads will have dried out so you can easily remove the seeds and sow them. Sow indoors and grow on until spring when they can be planted out.


The growth of weeds will have slowed down substantially by September so it’s a good chance to get on top of things. One final good round of thorough weeding should keep them mostly at bay until the following spring.

Use a hoe on annual weeds growing in beds, borders and on gravel paths, then rake off the hoed weeds to leave a clean and tidy surface.

Plant out Spring bedding plants 

It's best to plant your Spring Bedding Plants as soon as possible to give it a chance to take root and maybe even produce flowers before Winter.


Plants like Pansies and Wallflowers will sit dormant through the winter and won’t usually flower until the weather warms in the spring. However, if you plant them early enough in the autumn they stand a higher chance of flowering before the winter and will hang on to their flowers until the next spring.

Fork Over Beds and Borders

Because so much time is spent working on your beds and borders at this time of year, the soil can become quite compacted. Give your beds and borders a good tilth and help improve drainage by lightly forking over the soil surface.

Dig Edges

Use a spade or edging iron to cut fresh, clean edges – remember to use a template to cut too, though, it’s easy to end up with an odd shaped flower bed! You can mark out your new edge with spray paint, rope or even a stretch of hosepipe. Once you’re happy with the shape it’s time to dig the edges. To do this, simply push a spade into the soil along the edge of the border and flick the soil towards the centre of the bed to create a gap between the lawn edge and soil. This looks neat and tidy and also prevents the soil from overflowing o to the lawn when it rains.

Remove Unwanted Ivy and Creeper

Once plants like Ivy and Virginia Creeper get going they can put on an enormous amount of growth in very little time at all. There is nearly always Creeper that is surplus to requirements at this time of year so now’s the time to pull it away from walls, windows and fences where it’s not wanted.

The best way to remove Ivy/Creeper from around windows it by cutting it with secateurs, this method achieves a neat, clean line around the windows where pulling it from the wall wouldn’t.

Clip Box, Euonymus and Privet Hedging

Box, Euonymus and Privet hedges should have put on a good few inches of growth and will need a second cut before going dormant. Use a hedge trimmer or shears to snip the excess growth back to the original hedge-line.

If you have a gravel path or driveway alongside your hedge, it’s well worth putting a sheet or tarpaulin down while you cut it. The leaves are very small and are very difficult to pick out of the gravel.

Clip Topiary

Evergreens commonly used for topiary, such as Box, Privet, Yew, Thuja or Euonymus need to be clipped in early June to prevent losing their shape. All new growth should be completely removed. Using shears or, for finer work, secateurs to clip all of the excess new growth right back to the original topiary line.

Cover the Pond with Netting

Be prepared for autumn leaf fall and put a fine net over your pond. If leaves are allowed to fall into the pond they will cause a build-up of sediment that can make your pond cloudy. Secure the net with pegs or rocks, every time it begins to sag under the weight of the leaves it can be lifted and emptied.




Close Window
model popup