Utilise the optimum garden weather conditions and make the most of your garden with autumn with our autumn gardening guide.
The Benefits of Autumn Gardening
Autumn is commonly and overlooked season in terms of gardening. When in fact is is one of the best seasons to get planting according to the RHS. The lower temperatures, increased rainfall and more temperate weather creates fantastic conditions for your soil. The warm soil temperature, cool air, predictable precipitation, reduced level of weed competition and pests helps make autumn the ideal time to garden. Autumn is especially good for planting evergreens, perennials, tulips and daffodil bulbs which thrive in the more consistent weather, lower temperatures and regular rainfall and often can grow new roots much more efficiently than in spring. it is also a good time for planting trees in clay soils, which are often too gooey in winter and dry to concrete in spring. Gardening is autumn is often more sustainable and requires less water consumption due to the lower temperatures and rainfall.
Jobs to do in your Garden This Autumn:
Autumn creates fantastic soil conditions for planting winter and spring flowering bulbs. Planting them now will guarantee you a beautiful display from winter to spring. Autumn is particularly a good time to plant bulbs such as; evergreens, crocus, snowdrops, tulips, daffodils and tulips.
Look After the Birds
Support wildlife this autumn by adding feeders and a water source to your garden, but be sure to freshen up water regularly and ensure it doesn’t freeze over. Putting out nuts and seeds is a great way to attract birds into your garden. You can even purchase particular mixes of nuts and seeds to attract particular birds like robins. Hedgehogs are in decline. Make a home from this autumn in your garden by keeping an area of your garden untidy, with a pile of logs and fallen leaves and leaving out a fresh water source. a pile of logs and fallen leaves, makes a perfect hedgehog house for them to hibernate in.
Fill Pots and Hanging Baskets with Evergreens
Fill pots and hanging baskets with evergreens to add colour and interest to your garden in the colder months. Start by replacing your summer pots and baskets with evergreens and winter bedding plants and moving the summer varieties indoors. Heathers and pansies which are particularly versatile during winter. Great varieties to plant this autumn are; Skimmia, Coleus, Heuchera, Miniature Conifers, Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’, Coronilla valentina subsp. Glauca, viburnums and skimmias work well all year round and help keep your outdoor space colourful and appealing all year round.
Add Compost to Flower Beds
Autumn is the perfect time to add compost or well-rotted manure to your beds for healthy plants next year. You can Either fork in the compost or spread it on top of no dig raised beds.
Store Summer Flowering Bulbs and Tubers
Protect your summer flowering bulbs and tubers this winter by storing them indoors. Lifting and storing them will help them survive the winter so they can be replanted next year. Be sure to completely dry them before storing and check them regularly for rotting or damaged parts.
Add colour to your Garden with Autumn Bedding Plants
Bring your garden to life this month with autumn beddings plants. Autumn and winter bedding plants can add a variety of benefits to your garden. Pick plants like Autumn crocuses and Cyclamen persicum for delightful flowers that will last until the first frost or longer in protected positions. Add Ornamental Cabbages & Kales or purple sage to add an ornamental look to your garden, Purple sage is particularly good and will look attractive and small great all year round. For year round colour add something like Heavenly bamboo its yellow-green leaves in summer turn bright red as the weather cools in autumn. For a Pollinator friendly Hardy plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) is a reliable performer for a sunny spot, with sky-blue flowers blooming for weeks on end in September and October and its leaves develop a wine-coloured tint. Finally, to add texture with Imperata cylindrica Rubra works well; its narrow leaves shine out a rich red in the low sunlight at this time of year, contrasting effectively with other plants.
Plant Garlic and Fruit Bushes
Autumn is the perfect time to plant garlic and fruit bushes such as raspberries, and blackberries. Garlic in particular needs a period of cold so autumn is perfect, most varieties need one to two months at 0–10°C (32–50°F) for good bulb development.
Prune & Protect
Autumn is the time to prune and protect your plants from the colder winter months. Pruning now helps to remove old growth and help get plants into shape and is suitable for; soft and bush fruits, herbaceous perennials, Mediterranean shrubs, yew hedges, ornamental trees and roses. Pruning and trimming after flowering finishes in autumn helps improve their appearance and flowering. However, you can leave some stems over winter to provide homes and food for wildlife, and then trim back in spring. Protect your plants this autumn by moving tender plants, including aquatic ones, into a greenhouse or conservatory. Prevent winter moth damage to fruit trees by using grease bands around the trunks and insulate outdoor containers from the upcoming frost. In wet weather keep an eye on your container and raise pots up off the ground on ‘feet’ to keep the bottom of the pot out of the water and prevent compost freezing.
Tidy up The Garden
Autumn is the time to tidy up your garden before the freezing winter months. Start by clearing up fallen leaves from lawns, ponds and beds. Dead-head autumn-flowering plants and prune summer-flowering shrubs before the first frosts. Check structures are stable and if they aren’t then mend them now before high winds and snow. Thoroughly clean and put away unused garden tools to prevent damage. Remove dying leaves and collapsed stems from herbaceous perennials, either pulling by hand or cutting at the base with secateurs. Leave any stems that have attractive seedheads for birds to enjoy. If you have fruit or vegetables, check for any spent plants and remove them before they begin to rot and infect other species, compost them unless they are diseased. Make any needed garden repairs to raised beds, sheds, compost bins or fences to prevent further damage from occurring in windy winter months.
Plant you Winter Crops
Autumn is a great time to plant your winter crops and help make your garden productive over the cooler months. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, kale, leeks and parsnips are hardy vegetables. Leafy crops such as chard, parsley and rocket are good autumn crops to plant and require little protection. Potatoes can be planted in mid- to late summer for winter harvests.Sow corn salad, land cress and oriental salad leaves such as komatsuna, mibuna, mizuna, mustard and rocket. These will provide cut-and-come-again leaves through the autumn, and winter if covered with a cloche, coldframe or fleece. For Autumn tops think; winter lettuce, rocket, radishes, onions, garlic and broad beans. Which can are all sturdy corps that can be planted in autumn. Where ground is in short supply, containers will support a few plants. If a greenhouse or polytunnel is available, it can be used to over-winter some crops and start others off early.
Make the Most of Autumn Leaves
To make the most of your autumn leaves, rack up your fallen leaves and fill a dustbin bag. Add water to help rot them down. Tie up the bag and punch holes into the bag and store it somewhere out of sight (behind a shed of bushes works well). After a year the leaf mould will turn to a great mulch to suppress weeds after two years it will be perfect for composting and soil conditioning.
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