September is the wise uncle of the months. He seems to look at us and say: “Now I don’t want to preach, but you can see for yourself. You did not plan to plant enough flowers that bloom late, and last spring everyone had glorious beds of bulbs, but you neglected to order yours. Last year you said you were going to work toward the realization of an outdoor living-room, but you only planted hit-and-miss. Now is the time to revamp the garden and profit by the mistakes which are fresh in your mind.”
All right, Uncle September, we hear your warning, and we do hope you will not have to shame us into following your timely advice.
Our motto for September and all other fall months should be: Do everything possible this fall rather than put it off until spring. This is especially true of fall, planting, for there are very few things which may not be planted just as well in the fall as in the spring. Why not make use of the more settled weather and the time available?
Fall-blooming perennials are always enjoyed. Make a list of those your friends and neighbors have and order them immediately for October planting.
Dahlias should be dug after the first heavy frosts.
Lawns. Thruout the entire North, from New Jersey to New England and westward to Colorado and Montana, this is the best month in the year to make a new lawn. Consult your state agricultural-experiment station for bulletins or directions for making a lawn and for seed mixtures. Conditions vary in different sections of the country.
Evergreens. This is one of the best months to move coniferous evergreens.
Water thourghly at planting and do not let them lack water.
Seeds of hardy annuals, such as snapdragons, cornflower, calliopsis, California-poppies, and others, can be sown outdoors this month.
Gladiolus. If they are dug just as the tops begin to brown they will retain the bulblets attached to the mother bulbs.
Wildfiowers transplanted this fall will bloom next spring. Why not naturalize Trilliums, hepaticas, Virginia Bluebells, and others in spots where you have difficulty in keeping sod?
Hardy perennials may be divided any time during the early fall, but care should be taken to replant them as soon as possible to prevent their drying out. Most perennials will respond to division every two years.
Montana gardeners note: plant evergreens from last week in August to October 1, but do not plant deciduous trees, shrubs, or roses in the fall. This is good advice for other northern-mountain and high-altitude plains country.
Plant spring-flowering bulbs, sow seeds of hardy annuals, and transplant evergreens.
Chrysanthemums. As soon as the buds begin to appear, take off some of the smaller ones so as to throw the strength into a smaller number of perfect blossoms.
Broadleaf Evergreens. Most broad-leaf evergreens will enjoy a mulch of oak leaves or leafmold. But do not water azaleas too much this month, as they are making flower buds and should not be encouraged to produce too great vegetative growth. If, however, they seem to be wilting, they may be given some moisture.
Lawns. W. Elbridge Freeborn, of Georgia, advises a mixture of Kentucky Blue grass and rye-grass, and says that the seed should be sown as soon as the weather becomes cool. Old lawns should be mowed regularly to encourage stooling. They should be fertilized once each month. Bermuda Grass makes a good green carpet from early April until early October. It is very tufted and withstands hard, rough treatment. But whenever Bermuda Grass gets the least touch of frost it is a brown, ugly spotted carpet. Ryegrass has been used to such a large extent in recent years that it has almost lost its nickname “feathergrass.”
Ryegrass planted now will be up large enough for cutting by the time the frost kills the Bermuda Grass.
So that an evergreen lawn may be had for small expense and minimum labor. Cut the Bermuda Grass as close as possible. Broadcast the seed as evenly as possible over the entire lawn, using 10 pounds to each 1,000 square feet, a space 50 by 20. Broadcast 1 sack of sheep manure and 1 bale of peatmoss— right on top the seed. Roll the lawn thoroly, and soak it. In 10 days you may expect to see the grass peeping thru. When it is 3 or 4 inches tall, it should be cut.
The severe month for lawns is August; a mulching of 1/4-inch peatmoss has therefore proved very beneficial in Atlanta.
Winter-blooming oxalis (Bermuda Buttercup is the yellow one and Grand Duchess is the pink) should be planted this month either out-of-doors as a border or in the house as pot plants and in window boxes if there is a sunny exposure.
Trim back rank-growing plants and spray the entire garden before the seedlings come up. There are two or three months more for caterpillars to work. Ants are particularly destructive.
Plant Easter Lilies any time from now to mid-November.
Prune evergreen hedges for the last time this year.
Annual Weeds. Pull and burn any annual weeds, such as ragweeds, pigweeds, foxtail, or pigeon grass, that went to seed in some neglected corner. These seeds live for years if allowed to reach the soil and get spaded under.
The West Coast
Prepare the garden for early rains by removing rubbish and spent plants, spading and fertilizing the beds, and leaving the soil loose and open. If the rains are delayed, do not neglect irrigation.
Bulbs. Amaryllis bulbs should be planted or moved if crowded immediately after blooming, before new growth begins. Plant in the sun with some good foliage plant to replace the absence of their own foliage.
Complete planting Watsonias and freesias (including the rainbow varieties), also begin planting Anemones, Ranunculus, dwarf gladiolus, and callas.
Give attention to autumn-blooming plants, staking, cultivating, fertilizing, and disbudding when necessary. Irrigate well. Study and rearrange color borders and beds and make notes for next year.
Plant Japanes Iris now in rich soil free from lime, preferably near water or moisture.
Sow now for winter-blooming: Sweet Peas, pansies, Violas, violets, Primula malacoides, and Aubrietas. In southern California sow bedding petunias, lobelias, larkspur, Nemesia, Lin-um, nasturtium, Centaurea, Rehman-nia, and calendulas.
Plant out all seedlings already sown, both perennials and annuals. Also make cuttings now of fuchsias, heliotrope, hydrangeas, Salvias, verbenas, petunias, and rock plants.
The summer-blooming Francoa ra-mosa, a perennial, may be started now in Coast regions, either by division of the roots or by sowing seed. It prefers a cool, moist, partially shaded location.
Roses like a light pruning just ahead of the fall-blooming period.
Cuttings. Evergreens, barberries, camellia, Cotoneaster, Japanese Privet, Sweet Myrtle, rhododendron, and evergreen Veronicas should be propagated this month,
Christmas-roses. Divide Christen roses (Helleborus niger) now to avoid disturbing the bloom.
Lawns. See your seedsman for ways to renovate old lawns.
Make and sow lawns in most any section except Florida. Give established lawns an application of commercial plant food. Also sow Italian Ryegrass in lawns anytime between now and February to provide a green winter lawn.
Roses. To aid the fall-blooming period of roses, an application of commercial plant food late this month will benefit.
Strawberries. In southern Texas set out strawberries this and next month, using plants from northern states.
Many vegetables can be sown this month for fall gardens from Alabama to Texas.
Seeds of the favorite perennial flowers can very well be planted at this time from North Carolina all the way westward to Oklahoma.