Grass Roots Gardening

Grasses form a fundamental part of many gardens.  The seed heads of ornamental grasses take on a magical quality as they shine in September’s golden sunlight.  September is a superb time to plant ornamental grasses, like: Deschampsia, Festuca, Heliotrichon, and Stipa.

Festuca glauca ‘Intense Blue’.

Has your garden been hosting family sports tournaments this summer?  If your grass is worn through in places, it’s the perfect time to fill in those bare patches.  Purchase a blend of grass seed suitable for the type of lawn you want to grow, and the conditions found in your garden.  If children play on your lawn, or people or pets walk over the grass, choose a hardwearing seed mix with a high percentage of perennial ryegrass.  Store your grass seed in the freezer for a couple of days – remove the seed and sow – the sudden change in temperature will help the seed germinate more readily.  First, take the time to remove any weeds; then use a rake to scratch over the lawn, removing moss and dead grass.  Next, rough up the soil in the bare patches and scatter your seeds.

Traditional lawns need regular mowing and ongoing care to keep the lawn in tip-top condition.
Purchasing rolls of turf gives almost instant results – you can have a green lawn by the end of the day. However, it is more expensive to buy turf and in the long run, the finish of a turfed lawn won’t necessarily be any better than that of a seeded lawn. Creating a seeded lawn allows you to purchase the exact type of grasses or wildflowers that you want to grow in your garden.

Plain grass can be boring and devoid of life; my favourite lawns feature flowering plants like daisies (Bellis perennis), clover (Trifolium), and Bird’s Foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus).  Don’t forget to sow these seeds, if you favour a flowering lawn.

Lotus corniculatus is also known as Bird’s Foot Trefoil and Eggs and Bacon. Bees and butterflies love this pretty wildflower.
Lotus corniculatus is also known as Bird’s Foot Trefoil and Eggs and Bacon. Bees and butterflies love this pretty wildflower.
Flowering lawns can be relaxing and uplifting: a beautiful sight.
Clover (Trifolium) is a beautiful plant that provides food for bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects.
Clovers produce these gorgeous flowers, which provide food for bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects.
I love daisies! Who wouldn’t want daisies in their lawn?

Crocuses grow well in lawns; their corms can be planted by jabbing a dibber or planting knife into the grass, then pop the Crocus corm into the hole – there’s no need to cover with soil.

Crocus tommasinianus is a very pretty crocus that provides food for early flying bumble bees. It’s important to leave the foliage of corms and bulbs to die back after flowering, this nourishes the plants and allows them to bloom next year. This Crocus species flowers so early that its foliage will have died back before the grass needs mowing.

Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) is a handsome wildflower that takes some of its nutrients from the roots of the grasses growing around it; thereby weakening the grass enough to create an opportunity for other meadow flowers to establish themselves.  If you want to grow Yellow Rattle, this is the time to sow seed.  Purchase fresh Yellow Rattle seed; as these seeds lose their viability rapidly, so last year’s seeds won’t germinate.  A sunny site is essential – Yellow Rattle won’t grow in the shade.  Due to the plant’s hemi-parasitic nature, Yellow Rattle needs to grow amongst grasses.  Strim or mow the grass and sow Yellow Rattle seeds into scarified patches of bare soil, in and around grasses.

Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) is a valuable meadow plant.

This is great time to sow wildflower seeds; although, it’s worth delaying sowings on heavy clay soils until springtime.  You’ll find a guide and tips for creating a beautiful meadow or flowering lawn in this article.

To enjoy daffodil flowers next spring, you need to plant daffodil bulbs now. I conduct Daffodil Trials to discover the most floriferous, longest lasting, and best scented daffodils available.  One of my favourite daffodils is Narcissus ‘Golden Dawn’; its scent is divine!   Discover the top performing and most fragrant daffodils in my Daffodil Trials.

Narcissus ‘Golden Dawn’ is a daffodil with a divine fragrance! This is another plant that benefits bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects.

To see my guide to growing a variety of different meadows, please click here.

To see lots more articles with gardening advice for September, please click here.

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