Meet Natasha, from Vintage Pretty, here to charm us once monthly, with her scrumptiously vintage take on gardening…

"September is now well upon us: there is a crisp bite in the air, and everything around us suggests the start of Autumn. There is an air of activity and of preparation around the garden.  Approaching the Autumn equinox on the 22nd- a time when the days are the same length as the nights- the birdsong so often heard in Summer changes and different calls can be heard echoing around the trees and fields.  Now is a time to harvest and appreciate the fruits of our labour, as the nights are drawing in…

The baking sun we have enjoyed through the summer is finally starting to wane, which is wonderful as it means easier gardening, and the scrumptious task of harvesting all that we have sown over the previous seasons (wild berries in the hedgerow are ripe and ready for picking.  I have already been out with a little basket and have collected 3lbs of blackberries which have been frozen so that I can make use of them for delicious pies, pavlovas and crumbles over the coming months.) This is the outdoor world at it’s best – who says you don’t get a meal for nothing?

My garden is bordered at one end by a rather large Hawthorn hedge which is now filling up with red berries ripe for the picking and I’m trying to find an old recipe for hawthorn berry syrup (renowned for its high levels of vitamin C, like rosehips) to ward off the sniffles, as best I can, because all too soon the first frosts will be around, so it is time to get the garden ready for the long winter ahead.  This mostly entails clearing beds of annuals, planting spring bulbs, pruning roses, buddleja and fruit trees.  From now until it gets far too cold to do so, I shall be out in the garden with a hoe, a fork and some secateurs to start the process of getting rid of the old to make way for the new and next weekend I will be up to my eyes in compost undertaking the mammoth task of turning this gargantuan beastie and hopefully using some of its magic mulch in the beds and borders….

Planning ahead:

I am mid-way through planning what is going where, which annuals I shall be sowing come spring and which vegetables I’d like to try.  This is the best part of the year for me, a time to look back, but also to look forward – to how I’d like my garden to look next year.  The easiest way to do that is simply to take a piece of paper, draw a basic plan of each bed and border, decide on a colour scheme (for flowers) or a list of your favourite vegetables and stick to it!  Use your local library and scour the internet, to find which plants you like the look of and whether you can grow them in your conditions.  Don’t forget also, that even if your garden is more yard than acreage – it doesn’t matter.  Pots, raised beds and container-gardens make a yard really come to life.  We’re lucky here, that we have the best of both, a yard and a garden – but whatever space you have, find simple ways to maximise its potential….

This is the month where Summer really comes to an end, and we start to think ahead to the cold nights and short days and so is the time to put the garden to sleep for another year…

Tasks for September:

Clear beds and borders – use a hoe!

Scrub yards and patios with hot soapy water and a stiff brush

Paint exterior doors

Clean all pots with a scrubbing brush and cleaning solution, ready for Spring

Sweep paths and decking

Mow the lawn (if you have one) and give it a good ol’ weed and feed (organic, of course!)"