September is busy gardening month

Published 9:00 am Sunday, September 6, 2015


Marigolds still in bloom. Before long seeds will be collected from them to use in the garden next spring. - Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Marigolds still in bloom. Before long seeds will be collected from them to use in the garden next spring. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

The month of September is a busy month for me in the gardens. I start seed saving and taking out annuals that have finished blooming. All but one yellow hollyhock has finished blooming and the seed heads have dried. I picked them off and let them dry for 24 hours on a paper towel before packaging them for other gardeners who had requested seeds from them. The rest of them are in a sealed bag in a cool and dry place in my office out of light. The bright lights cosmos were the next seeds that I collected and again the same routine was followed. It will be some time before the marigolds and zinnias are ready to collect. I should be able to find some that have dried by the end of the month.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

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The month of September finds the days growing shorter and cooler temperatures signaling the annuals to slow down in their bloom production. I have already tossed out all of the calibrachoas that really did not like those hot days we had in August and replaced them with some lovely and colorful mums. Some of the containers have been moved around in the gardens as I pull out spent flowers so I don’t have gaps in the gardens where there are no blooms.

It won’t be long before we start to see color in some of the trees that turn early, and already I am noticing the mukdenia has some red on the leaves. If you have house plants that spend the summer in the garden it is time to check them for any insect infestations and then start bringing them into the house for the winter months. The only plant that I will take in this year is my lovely rabbits foot fern that has spent the past three summers outdoors under the gazebo. My house just doesn’t allow for me to bring in any plants. I have no place for them to over-winter where they will get adequate sunlight and we can still live comfortably as my house is quite small.

Even though the gardens were officially closed to the public Aug. 1, we had so many visitors every day and I have met some wonderful people who are as passionate about gardening as I am. Our conversations were all about gardening and discussing how everyone has different gardens. What a wonderful group of people I was able to share the gardens with during this time.  Many of them had never visited Serendipity Gardens before and they left with packets of seeds for their own gardens and have been added to my Facebook pages where we will continue our discussions about gardening.

An old French proverb states: “Autumn is the hush before winter.”  The days of gardening this season are quickly coming to a close, and soon the gardens will be all brown until the snow covers them. Until that time, I will be busy with many garden chores to be completed before the cold weather arrives. The compost that has been baking all summer needs to be spread over the gardens to add nourishment for next spring, and flowers need to be cut down. My roses will get cut back to about 12 inches, and I haven’t decided yet if I will put cages around the three new amber flower carpet roses that I planted this spring and then cover them with leaves for winter protection. They are hardy for our zone, but because they were new this season will be very tender perennials.

Once the 30 lilies arrive that I ordered, they will need to get planted, but before I can do that the annuals will need to get pulled out. They will spend time in the refrigerator until I can get them in the ground. Also two coneflowers that have spent the summer in containers need to get planted in the front entry garden where I have been observing them and decided the location will work out fine.  Every day there are chores that will need to get done so that once the cold weather arrives I don’t have to be out there freezing my hands washing out containers. I relish every day in the gardens in September as I watch the flower season coming to an end and know that soon this year will be just another memory.

“For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.  For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.”  — Edwin Way Teale


Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at