September - the springboard into autumn with mornings noticeably cooler and the plants showing an imperceptible decline towards their golden years. In milder years many perennials such as dahlia or rudbeckia may continue growing with summer abandon, combining with grasses to provide stunning combinations. In the hedgerows berries will be starting to display their ripening autumn colour and blackberries will be the target of the foragers bag.
September was the seventh month in the Roman calendar changing to the ninth month when the Gregorian calendar was adopted in the 16th century.
It’s in this month that the Cotswold church of St Mary's in Painswick with its 99 yew trees is the centre of attention when both the annual clipping and the annual ‘clypping’ take place. The former produces large amounts of yew clippings that are sent off to be used in the production of the anti-cancer drug paclitaxel. The latter is a celebration that has been carried out for many years, its origins forgotten but revived in Victorian times. ‘Clypping’ derives from an Old English word meaning ‘to embrace’. Villagers encircle the church and link hands before dancing and singing all followed by a traditional ‘puppy dog pie’ and freshly pressed apple juice.
Though wet weather can be expected in September with an average of 10cm often recorded throughout the month, a peak high temperature of approximately 19 degrees can make time spent in the garden very pleasant- the classic Indian Summer.
Gardeners Harry Dodson, Anna Pavord, and Lost Gardens of Heligan creator Tim Smit all have birthdays this month.