With only a few months' training under her belt, GardenSite's own Flori Bosnigeanu took part in this year's Great Birmingham Run, raising over £500 for the city's Children's Hospital.
Nathan James Dodd suggests that during September there are many ways to maximise the growing season shile also preparing for the approaching autumn.
There's no time to rest on your laurels, the ground is still warm and moist - so it's an ideal time to ensure you have plenty of colour for the final few weeks of the growing season while also planning, preparing and planting the garden for next year.
Ensure that the garden is full of colour for another month or so by supporting the stems of autumn flowering perennials - asters, sedum and rudbeckia.
Fill any gaps in the border with chrysanthemums and other autumn flowering plants.
Remember to deadhead and continue to feed flower baskets with high potash fertilizer and they will last for a few more weeks.
Water camelias, keeping them moist to avoid bud drop next spring.
Cut hedges, starting at the base and making sure that there's a slope towards the top to let in maximum sunlight.
In the vegetable garden, lift and harvest maincrop potatoes and store in a dry, cool environment.
There's still time to sow fast growing crops such as rocket and also winter purslane, perpetual spinach and rocket to be picked early next year.
Trim hedges now and they will not need to be cut again until the spring. Make sure you wear safety glasses, use sturdy and stable ladders, and if you are using electric cutters fit a RCD.
The first leaves will be falling soon. These need to be collected and preferably composted into leaf mould.
Herbaceous perennials can be divided to prevent clumping and to revitalise them. If shrubs have outgrown their location or need to be moved for any other reason, this is the best time of the year to relocate them.
Continue to care for wildlife by leaving sticks and logs about for hibernating insects or buy frog boxes, bat boxes and hedgehog houses.
Clear away plants and foliage that are past their best, dig over vegetable patches while adding organic matter, think about growing a crop of green manure.
Sow hardy annuals such as calendula, nigella and papaver that has been dug over and is weed free.
Buy bulbs from your garden centre for forcing, hyacinths take about 12 weeks, they make great Christmas presents, To save time and effort, 'prepared' bulbs are available.
Improve the soil around trees, shrubs and perennials before winter arrives by lightly forking and mulching with compost.
Plant hardy variety of broad bean such as 'Aquadulce Claudia' in fertile ground that won't get waterlogged.
Give the lawn an autumn feed, lengthen the cut and aerate with a garden fork, repair bare patches using good quality seed. There is also no better time to lay turf, repair patches or sow a new lawn. Make sure the turf is from a cultivated source or you are using the correct seed – fine mixtures require regular maintenance, a course mixture is more suitable if there are children about.
Drop into your local garden centre this week for everything you need for your autumn garden or visit the Autumn Shop on gardensite.co.uk
Nathan James Dodd
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