There is no denying it; autumn is on its way. The weather will cool down now (although with rumours of another heatwave in the next few months, maybe not), the rich green of the trees will be replaced with stunning golden browns, oranges and reds that make your landscape look as if it’s on fire and your garden, will your garden will need a little help to stay looking good.
You may think autumn is a death sentence for your garden as your plants health fades but the autumn clear out is essential if you are going to prep your garden for winter. Don’t be fooled – autumn is a very busy time for your garden!
By the end of this month, the days will come shorter leaving plants with only a few hours to absorb nutrients vital to their survival. Make sure that you maximise the amount of sun getting to your plants by removing any shading you have in your Greenhouse and giving the windows a good clean to remove any smears. Our fully glazed Greenhouses allow sunlight to surround your plants with no obstacles – a must have over the winter months
We use 4mm thick toughened glass, not Perspex or Styrene which can scratch easily and cloud up over time. This is also thicker and less likely to break when hit with the neighbour’s pesky football compared to the industry standard of 3mm horticultural glass.
Check your tools
They say a worker is only as good as his tools, and this applies to gardening too. The cooler weather will make soil hard and the last thing you need is your spade handle snapping when trying to break the earth. For tools like shears and secateurs’ that need to be sharp to remain effective, now is the time to do it – don’t know how? You can follow YouTube tutorials or you can send them away if you prefer. Spades, rakes and tools that have become dirty over the summer need a good wash and dry before they are sent to the back of the shed – it may be worth oiling them to stop rust developing – and your lawnmower needs cleaning and servicing ready for Spring.
With more time spent indoors, now is the time to get out in your garden and tidy it up. Fallen leaves provide an ideal home for wildlife that are trying to stay warm and dry over the winter (for tips on how to create a wildlife garden, check out this blog) so collect all these and compost them ready for the spring. Plants that are dying need to be removed before they start to rot as they can attract pests that work their way around your garden and destroy it. Throw these in the compost unless they are diseased as this will prove invaluable over time.
Weren’t particularly happy with how your garden was laid out last year? Now is the time to make any changes you want – divide and replant flowers while the soil is still warm. Be careful though as you perennials’ often have seed heads that will look fantastic every morning coved in autumn dew or a slight frost. Once you have rearranged your garden and created the border you like, spread a layer of compost, manure or bark chips to protect the soil against colder weather. You don’t need to dig it in, simply sit back and let the worms do their job.
Time to trim
Over autumn and winter your garden will not need mowing often, if at all, so now is the time to give your garden one last trim. After mowing, go along the edges of the lawn with an edging tool or knife to ensure your borders are neat and tidy. Rake all the chopped grass and add it to the compost heap to provide vital protection throughout the colder months. If your garden is prone to flooding then it may be worth making deep holes every 10cm, using a garden fork, to help drainage and stop the soil becoming compacted and damaged.
Clear out compost bin
Now is the ideal time to empty out the existing compost and spread it around your garden to make room for this season’s garden waste. Don’t worry if your compost is not quite ready yet, turn it over to improve decomposition and then either add to it or create a new heap – there is no such thing as too much compost.
Believe it or not, you can plant new plants over the cooler months. The warm soil and cooler conditions is the ideal environment for these to grow and fill the gaps in your borders. Hardy plants such as Polygala chamebuxus gradiflora will inject colour into your garden, ideal for brightening up a grey day. These will blossom into vivid and fragrant plants when the rest of your garden lays dormant. If you want a more formal finish, why not look at topiary which you can buy in varying shapes and styles which will inject formality and fun into your garden on drab days.
Protect your ponds
Falling leaves and twigs can block filters on any pumps you have and turn your pond water stale making it dangerous for potential wildlife. Take the time to clear out leaves and foliage floating on top of the pond before removing the pond pumps and washing them out thoroughly to store over winter. To protect your pond further simply spread a meshed net over the top of the pond and secure with bricks – this will make the act of catching leaves a lot easier.
Make vital repairs
Now is the time to repair any damage to your garden and garden buildings to help them survive even the coldest weather. Once you’ve repaired raised beds, sheds, bins and fences make sure you paint or spray them with a preservative to protect them against rot and fungal decay often bought on by the prolonged damp conditions.