For many, autumn can be a dreary season – the bright flowers of the warmer months wilt and die away, the air becomes nippier with artic winds and well, the garden generally becomes a little bit neglected! In preparation for the coming season, we have some tips that will not only brighten up your autumn garden but also set it up for a brighter spring.
1. Dreaming of spring
Autumn is the ideal time to introduce new plants like roses or young trees, and completely redesign your garden before the frost bites; the soil is moist thanks to frequent rain showers and still warm from the summer sun, providing you with soil that allows plant roots to thrive. Plant spring bulbs such as Hyacinths and Bluebells in holes about 2-3x their height with the tips pointing upwards and cover with soil.
2. Keep your plants cosy
While we are wrapping up warm in front of the fire, we can also bring our fragile plants inside, ensuring they’re safe from plummeting temperatures and frosty ground. Plants in pots can easily be transferred indoors, place them in sheltered corners of your home which will also make your house greener this winter.
Summer bulbs can be saved by being dug out and placed in empty airy boxes like shoe boxes and stored for away for the season. Meanwhile, other plants will appreciate a little bit of extra protection – a layer of leaf mulch, wood chip or even bubble wrap can act as a blanket. If you plant any young trees this autumn, ensure that you use canes or stakes for extra support – you’ll need to ensure their roots are protected from strong winter winds.
3. Have an eternally green garden
If autumn brings to mind a dull, lifeless garden, add some evergreen plants like Daphne which will add glossy deep green leaves to your garden . Plus, you'll have a beautiful scent and gorgeous pale pink flowers to look forward to around Christmas time.
4. Lovely lawns
Clean your lawn on a regular basis – if you leave fallen leaves on your grass, it will block the already weakened sun from the grass, causing brown batches and moss to appear. Start collecting the leaves and create leafmould at the edge of your garden – this will act as a welcome shelter for animals and insects.
Continue mowing your grass until the start of November when the rate of its growth starts to dramatically decrease. However, avoid keeping the grass shorter than 5cm/2inches.
It’s also wise to feed your turf with special autumn fertilizer; its high levels of potassium will help protect it from harsh frosts.
5. Prune hedges, bushes and shrubs
During autumn, many shrubs start bending down to the ground and changing their colour, this is when they attempt to seed and move their sap down to their roots - if they aren’t trimmed now, you may start to notice decay. Hedges also need to be trimmed but its important to do this before winter arrives and without leaving big gaps, for fear of disrupting any nesting birds.
6. Keep your furry friends well fed
If you have summer plants that produce seeds or berries, such as sun flowers or black-eyed Susans, don’t cut down the dead stalks as they are perfect natural bird feeders for the winter. Why not attach bird feeders to bare tree branches for the blackbirds, song thrushes, robins and starlings that may visit your garden from cooler climes such as Scandinavia or Eastern Europe.
7. Sharpen your skills
Before storing away your garden tools for the winter, sharpen your shears and secateurs, and be sure to clean the blades and motor of your mower. Don’t forget to oil machinery to help prevent rust and use Linseed Oil to strengthen and protect wooden handles. Putting in the effort now will set you up with tools that are good as new come spring.
8. Clean up in aisle…
If you have a greenhouse, now’s the time to completely clear out your summer crops, hose down the corners, wash the windows (both inside and out) and, if necessary, light a sulphur candle (only when you are sure it’s properly enclosed and safe) - this will fumigate your greenhouse and get rid of any bugs and pests in preparation for growing season.
As you work hard to prepare your plants for the coming months, be sure to keep yourself protected from the elements too! Wrap up warm in our women
leisurewear, layered up with cosy fleeces and sturdy boots