Although the long summer days are drawing to a close, there is still so much fun to be had in the garden come Autumn.
A changing landscape awaits, bringing crisp, crunchy leaves and rich, vibrant colours. It’s easy to neglect the garden once the warmer months have passed, but Autumn is a fantastic time to tidy up after summer, plan ahead for next year and enjoy the garden in its new light. In fact, it’s a great time to plant as the soil is moist and warm, encouraging root growth and reducing water stress.
We’ve compiled a list to help you prepare for the season, with plenty of jobs to keep you busy!
Autumn brings fresh gardening jobs that can be carried out over the next few months:
- Tidy out your greenhouse and give it a good sweep. Scrub off any shade paint to make the most of the remaining sunny days.
- If you are lucky enough to have a pond, it’s a good time to put a netting over it before leaf fall gets underway.
- Give your lawn some care. Use a rake to remove any build up of dead grass, moss or weeds. You may wish to aerate your grass and improve its drainage by making deep holes with a garden fork. If you need to lay new turf, autumn is the ideal time to do so, with plenty of time for it to establish before next summer.
- Dig out tender summer bulbs and store them in a dark place that is cool and dry.
- Bring tender plants undercover before the first frost.
- Carry out seasonal pruning when the weather is still quite mild, and continue to tidy up perennials after they’ve finished flowering.
There is still life to be had in the garden yet! There are many plants that will bring a welcome burst of late season interest and colour as autumn arrives:
- Plant varieties that flower throughout Autumn for a pop of much needed colour. Some of our favourites include Aster frikartii ‘Mönch’, Hesperantha coccinea ‘Pink Princess’ and Anemone × hybrida ‘Montrose’.
- Introduce ornamental grasses into your garden for yearlong height, texture and movement. Try the beautiful bronze foliage of Carex ‘Bronco’ or Carex flagellifera ‘Toffee Twist’, or the dramatic colouring of Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’ with its bright green leaves that gradually turn striking red at the tips. For an intriguing layer to your planting scheme, Stipa gigantea is a glorious see-through specimen ideal for the centre of a border, bearing oat-like flowers from summer into autumn.
- Use evergreens for year-round structure. An evergreen climber like the ivy Hedera helix ‘Green Ripple’ will cloak walls and trellises with its vivid leaves, whilst Photinia ‘Red Robin’ will provide a low maintenance option for screens or hedging.
- Berry bearing shrubs will bring invaluable autumnal colour, like Cotoneaster salicifolius ‘Gnom’ with its brilliant red berries.
- Prepare your garden for next year and plant spring-flowering bulbs over autumn until the first frost.
We often think of the summer months as being the hive of activity in the garden. But over the autumn and into winter, as more of us move inside, it’s time to remember the wildlife that call the outdoors their home. Creating an inviting habitat for these creatures is more important than ever, to ensure they have access to food, shelter and a cosy spot to settle down and hibernate in over the colder months.
Here are our tips to extend your wildlife haven beyond summer:
- Rake fallen leaves into a pile and transfer them to a corner of your garden or beneath shrubs and hedges to provide shelter for hedgehogs and other small mammals.
- Stack plant pots in a sheltered area to offer a cool and dry place for bees and insects.
- Collect bundles of twigs to provide a home for many different creatures.
- Ensure birds have something to eat. Some plants with berries make a good food source, along with seed heads – so let these remain for birds to enjoy.
- Get composting! Give wildlife access to your compost bin to provide the perfect shelter and place for hibernation over winter.
- Put up a nest box. Even though the season for breeding is over, nest boxes will provide a warm and dry spot for small birds to spend cold nights.
- Avoid tidying the garden too much. Decaying plant material in your borders will act as a cosy blanket for small mammals.
For success in your garden at this time of the year:
- Apply mulch to help retain moisture, inhibit weeds and protect the roots of plants in colder temperatures.
- Keep any remaining fallen leaves to create leaf mould. Leaf mould can be used around the garden as a mulch, soil improver or a top dressing for lawns.