1 September 2013 - 12:00am

September is a busy month for gardeners!

This is a good time to take some cuttings of your favourite tender perennials. It really is very easy and you get lots more plants, more or less for free. Because they are new they are often more vigorous and free flowering than their older ‘parents’. Geraniums, salvias and penstemons can all grow well from tip cuttings. As long as you are prepared to keep them watered and frost free over the winter there is little else to worry about. Using secateurs or a clean, sharp knife, cut off a shoot just below a leaf about 10cm (4”), preferably a non- flowering one but that’s not critical. If there is a flower, cut it off. Trim off some of the bottom leaves and immediately put into some decent, free draining compost. You can buy small bags of seed and cutting compost and it’s worth it: you will get better results. You can dip the base into hormone rooting powder first if you like, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Put the cuttings in quite deep round the edge of a pot. You should be able to get at least 5 round a 6” diameter pot. Water well and keep damp – you can pop a plastic bag over it but I prefer to keep an eye on them and it’s easier if you don’t. Early next year, when you can see roots coming through the bottom on the pot, tease them out gently and pop into a bigger pot, let them grow on a bit and then plant them out early summer. Geraniums prefer to be kept a bit drier or they will rot. Some other jobs for September – it’s a busy month for gardeners: • Keep picking your vegetables or your courgettes will turn into marrows • Get your strawberry plants in asap • Prune late flowering shrubs • Lift, divide and replant tired looking perennials while the soil is warm, plant the new clumps in some decent soil and throw away the woody growth in the middle of the clump • If you like a pristine lawn, scarify to get the moss out • Get a compost bin going so you have some of the lovely stuff next year. Turn the ones you have started to speed up the process • Put a net over the pond to prevent leaves falling in • Keep an eye on black spot on roses, remove any affected leaves and burn them or it will pass on to next year’s new growth • Keep deadheading your dahlias and other flowering plants, they will then keep going until the frosts. Daffodils were appearing in garden centres last month and now is a good time to get them in. My favourites are the dainty little ‘Hawera’, the reliable and long lasting ‘February Gold’ and the gorgeous white ‘Thalia’ (pictured). Plant them in generous drifts rather than in rows for best impact. Tulips should wait at least until next month but get those daffs in now and you will enjoy the sunny flowers for many springs to some.