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September Tips for Celebrity Gardeners!

September Gardening: 3 Famous faces (and their green fingers) and what they should be doing this month:

Jeremy Corbyn's Allotment

Though well known for his love of his allotment, it seems unlikely Jeremy Corbyn will have the time for such things in the immediate future. Recently voted in (again) as Labour leader, the man simultaneously seen as holding together & pushing apart his party has already abandoned his front lawn, presumably in the face of the scrum of paparazzi encamped outside- a shame as he’s nearing the last opportunity for mowing before winter sets in.

Assuming the embattled leader can steal a few days’ respite, can give the press the slip and covertly return to his beloved vegetable patch for the weekend, what’s his plan?

Firstly, we’d take a moment to remind him of the stress-busting qualities of tending one’s garden. For a man entrenched in hostile political territory the benefits are clear. Exposure to sunlight releases serotonin into the brain and helps aid peaceful sleep. Fresh air also benefits sleep and also helps focus & mental health. The activity of gardening increases vitality while exercising the joints & muscles that often go unused sitting behind a desk, or, presumably, leading a party.

So what activities would we recommend? As daylight is already beginning to decline, we’d recommend making the most of the time available to get some peas, spring cabbages & beans planted to overwinter- so come what may he’ll have some tasty veg to tuck into in the early Spring. Alternatively, he could spend his time insulating his greenhouse (if he has one) and pruning any bushes or trees likely to suffer in the cold weather to come. Any berries need to be collected before the birds finish them off, while leafy veg should be covered to protect them, and less hardy plants need moving into greenhouses while the weather is relatively mild. Preparing for bad weather ahead is the theme for this month’s gardening to-do list, whether he sees any parallels with life outside the veg patch is unknown.

John Humphries' Lawn

Broadcasting legend John Humphries recently confessed to the Daily Telegraph of his pride in his lawn, the centrepiece of a completely restored garden at his London home. As September draws to a close and Autumn rolls around, lawn owners –be they journalistic institutions or not- will need to take steps to ready our lawns for winter. Improving drainage, carefully scarifying and spiking the soil to ensure damp weather doesn’t cause problems- don’t leave this too late as it won’t have a chance to recover. Once the weather gets cold and wet, you’ll want to limit traffic on the lawn as much as possible, removing stones, dead leaves and branches but otherwise staying off. Mowing is also bad the lawn’s health over winter- low temperatures and poor light will slow growth however so don’t fear- it won’t get as out of control as it might seem. Nonetheless if you can catch a warm spell, it can help stimulate growth to give it light trim. Simply abandoning it to the winter can lead to further damage. If you’re careful & attentive now there are lots of ways you can help your lawn recover quickly and thrive after winter.

Prince Charles' Garden

Well know horticultural enthusiast and organic guru Prince Charles has raised the profile of gardening massively over the last few decades. Once dismissed as eccentric, many claim the image of organic home-grown veg would remain the preserve of back-to-the-landers after the ‘Good Life’ instead of a mainstream hobby enjoyed by millions. The Prince and his garden at Highgrove are gardening celebrities in their own right, so what will the staff, and possibly even His Royal Highness, be getting stuck into this month?

Highgrove is far more than an allotment or a lawn. A complex & expertly maintained series of several gardens, there’s undoubtedly a lot of work to do to prepare the site for winter. While some areas, such as the Wildflower Meadow, may be allowed to deal with the colder months on their own, maybe benefitting only from netting for protection for birds, the vast collection of fruit & vegetable plants that allow the garden to run self-sufficiently will require somewhat more work. One of the Prince’s favourites, Charlotte potatoes can go in in late August, in order to allow growing before the winter frosts. Some other royal favourites, such as leeks, will still be being harvested, yet most of the work will go into mulching the soil and preparing for next Spring.

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