Gordon Baillie, head gardener at Arley Hall, says now is the time to tackle weeds as summer turns to autumn

IF, like me, you’ve enjoyed more barbecues than normal over the summer then you may not have noticed the grass growing beneath your feet!

Lawns have been thriving in recent months, watered by the rain and kept warm by the sun.

Now is the time to tackle them as weeds and moss will be getting out of hand. It is an investment that will reap benefits when next summer arrives.

Right now the grass is in good condition to withstand an autumn lawn treatment programme and I recommend the following: Scarification followed by moss killing, and aerating followed by some more scarification.

You can use lawn sand to treat the moss up until the end of September, but after that use a liquid moss killer.

This is because the sand is more potent and can only be used while the grass is growing at a rate fast enough to fill in the gaps.

The best thing about cracking on with this work in September is that, if you don’t get it done, there is still October to finish it off. Who knows, you may even have time for another barbecue or two this month if the weather is fine.

For us one of the main lawns to be looked after at Arley is in the Walled Garden.

Visitors enter through the double gates into an area that represents one of the biggest alterations in the history of the gardens at Arley.

Until 1939 it was a kitchen garden enclosure, typical of those attached to large country houses of the time.

The walls were covered in fruit trees and an avenue of apples and pears, underplanted with paeonies, marguerites and lupins stretched from the gates to a colourful little parterre.

A three-metre border for herbs and small plants lay at the foot of the surrounding wall and this was separated from four large vegetable plots by a path.

However, it was uneconomical both in terms of space and labour so between 1946 and 1960 became a commercial market garden.

After 1960 it was changed again and started to take the form visitors see today with a pond, four beech trees and the heraldic beasts that provide a centrepiece for the four lawns.

For the visiting public it is the fountain and border that draw the eye, but the lawns receive as much TLC from us as anything else in the garden.

There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but – like with your own lawn – it is worth the effort.

Tip for the month GET out to your local nurseries or garden centres and stock up on bulbs.

This is the best time to discover some unusual plants before they sell out! Alternatively you could wait till November when stocks are running low and there are some better deals on.

Either way don’t forget your senses when you make a purchase. Yes you might want to buy some bulbs that promise a bright spring or summer but also give some thought to scent.

Narcissus are a good bet and my recommendation would be Paperwhite.