September garden news

Karl Emeleus, Head Gardener Karl Emeleus Head Gardener
Killerton's garden in September.

Here's a note from Karl, Killerton's Head Gardener about the garden this month.

As the days noticeably start to draw in and the first trees start to show a hint of colour in their leaves, it is at this time of year that we must accept that summer has ended and welcome in the early autumn.

September is the month in which to take cuttings of herbaceous plants ready for next year. The gardeners at Killerton have been taking softwood and semi-ripe cuttings of all of the tender perennials here such as salvia, penstemon, gazania, fuchsia, and osteospermum in order to generate new plants for next year's design of the tender perennial borders.

Taking cuttings ready for next year's planting
Cuttings in pots at Killerton
Taking cuttings ready for next year's planting

The cuttings are kept in a heated mist bench to encourage root growth, and are grown on over the winter in our heated glass houses.They will be ready for hardening off in May, and planting out in June 2020.

An intermittently damp August has meant that the garden team are still cutting the wildflower meadows well into September. Soon the team will focus on autumn lawn care. This involves scarifying and aerating to relieve the compaction after a busy summer.

Elsewhere around the garden and estate

Even though we are now in early autumn, it is vital to keep on top of of those stalwart summer jobs. Mowing, weeding and dead-heading still feature heavily on the gardeners' to-do lists in order to keep the garden looking at its best.

Once the wildflower meadows have been cut, the team will turn their attention to the various hedges around the garden. 

September is a great time to cut hedges. Bird nesting season is well and truly over, with any second broods fully fledged, and growth rates will be starting to slow meaning a trim now will allow plants enough time to repair without becoming shaggy, resulting in a neat and compact hedge for the winter ahead.

Box hedge trimming
Trimming the hedges in the car park at Killerton, Devon
Box hedge trimming

The team use a variety of methods for hedge trimming. Petrol hedgecutters are used for fine-leaved plants such as the box and yew in the car park. For more intricate and delicate work, handshears are used, namely on the box balls by the entrance to the house and finally, for broad-leaved hedging plants such as laurel, secateurs are used. This ensures that the large leaves are not cut during trimming. Cut leaves will brown off and look usightly on the glossy green leaves of a plant such as laurel. 

Once hedges are done, the team will focus on autumn lawn care. This involves scarifying and aerating to relieve the compaction after a busy summer.

We hope you enjoy your visit, and if you have any questions for the team please do stop us and ask.

Karl, Head Gardener