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Meet Donald MacIntosh from Loch Duich Plants

September 25th 2020

It has been lovely to have some nice weather this month along with some very wet days here on the NW Coast of Scotland. It was the first frost of the autumn today with frozen car windscreens and lawns, seems to be earlier this year so it is now time to bring inside any tender plants before frosts cause damage to them such as fuchsia and geraniums, wait for the frosts to blacken dahlia then lift and dry off the tubers.  Perennials can be cut back, and overgrown ones divided and replanted.

With the ideal planting conditions of autumn (warm moist soil), now is the time to plant container grown shrubs, trees, fruit bushes, perennials and bulbs. The key to successful planting is to water in well. Soak the root ball in a bucket until no air bubbles come to the surface, dig the planting hole, fill with water, and allow to drain away. Place the plant in the hole, fill with soil, firm gently and water well. In the vegetable patch you can now plant garlic cloves with their pointed ends up, and spaced 10cm apart for a harvest next summer.

Spring flowering bulbs are now in stock in garden centres, you can plant them in pots in the garden layering them with tulips and daffodils planted deepest then smaller bulbs like crocus and dwarf tulips above this will give weeks of colour to your pots in the Spring. There is also a great choice of Autumn bedding plants from pansies, violas, primulas, cyclamen, bellis, forget me nots and foliage colours from ornamental cabbages, heucheras, ivies and evergreen grasses and shrubs.

      

You can plant prepared hyacinths now so they will flower in time for Christmas, if there is no drainage holes in your container use bulb fibre as this contains charcoal to stop the compost going sour. If there are drainage holes normal compost is fine, keep them as cool and dark as you can until the shoots are well developed, modern houses are often too warm now so a shed or outside is best.

It is best to rake fallen leaves off lawns during autumn before they block out light and air penetration to the grass and these can be added to the compost heap. In many colder areas, this month is the last opportunity to scarify, aerate and top dress your lawns.  Scarification removes layers of dead grass and can be done with either a spring-tine rake or a scarifier.