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SUMMER'S CLOVER NOW; Get your garden set for the season ahead by sowing seeds, tackling the lawn, cutting back hedges and hitting the shops to pick up some bargain buys.

Byline: DAVID DOMONEY

Now the calendar has flipped over to September, it's time to get the garden ready for autumn.

If gardening's your passion, you'll enjoy the extra time you can spend outdoors before the weather turns wetter and colder.

The changeable Scottish weather might not suit sitting out and relaxing in your Eden, so if you want to be a bit more active, there's plenty to keep you busy.

Even at summer's end, there's still a lot of gardening to be done. By early September any garden can look a bit scruffy and in need of a bit of attention.

So here's my guide to the tasks needing tackled at this time of year.

If you've finished harvesting in the veg garden, you can plant a green manure to put some goodness back into the ground. Fast-growing plants, such as red clover or alfalfa, will provide useful ground cover to stop weeds taking over, and then they can be dug back into the soil in spring, returning nutrients to the soil.

Sow the seeds across bare soil and lightly rake in. Next spring you can cut the plants down, let them wilt and dig them back into the earth.

Allow a couple of weeks for them to fully break down before sowing new vegetables.

Alternatively, you might want to squeeze a bit more out of your veg patch this year by sowing quick-growing leaves, such as spinach and rocket, for a final quick crop.

Next, the lawn. It's been working hard for you all summer but has endured a lot of wear as a result of regular use.

Also, over the last six months of growth, dead material has been building up at the base of the individual grass plants.

As growth is slowing down, you can raise the lawnmower blade.

After cutting, give the grass a vigorous raking to remove any dead matter.

In a couple of weeks you can apply some autumn lawn feed which will help to strengthen the roots for the winter ahead.

It's time to trim those evergreen hedges.

Yew can be cut back hard but with conifers such as Leyland cypress or thuja, don't cut back beyond green growth as it won't recover and you'll be left with bald or brown patches.

Privet, beech and hornbeam will all take a clipping now.

If you're using electric hedge trimmers, be sure to wear eye goggles as flying bits of debris can damage the surface of the eye.

Garden centres are well worth a visit this weekend to pick up end-of-summer bargains.

You'll get very good deals on garden furniture, ornaments and barbecues.

Also, look out for herbaceous plants that have finished flowering as these are often reduced in price. One goodsized herbaceous plant can be divided into three to five sections for autumn planting.

While you're there, browse through the bulbs for inspiration.

Autumn-flowering bulbs, such as nerine, Sternbergia (winter daffodil) and autumn crocus can go straight in the ground this weekend.

Spring bulbs can be bought and stored for autumn planting.

Or maybe you just want to kick back and relax.

How about taking the opportunity to visit a garden you've always wanted to see? We have glorious gardens the length and breadth of the country, so while it's still mild, take a picnic and admire the work of other passionate gardeners.

Whatever the weather, enjoy yourselves.

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cover up Red clover grows fast and will stop weeds on your veg patch
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 4, 2016
Words:580
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