Autumn has well and truly arrived now, and temperatures are beginning to drop. The sight of red, golden, copper leaves is one of my favourite things to distract from the chill in the air!
While this can be a quiet time for gardeners, it is the perfect chance to get your garden looking neat and well-tended to get a head start next spring.
Shrubs can be pruned or cut back to neaten them up and prevent wind damage. Tie trees to a stake to prevent wind damage. Always tie the tree low down so that it can move in the wind, but the roots will be stable. Take this time to replace rotting fence posts, so they can’t be blown down in winter storms.
Remove leaves from your lawn, paths and borders to create an eco-friendly compost heap. The leaves decompose to help create a rich compost for future use. Leave a few piles of leaves under hedges to provide shelter for wildlife.
Remove Greenhouse Shading and give it a good clean and disinfect to reduce pests and diseases. Once done ventilate your greenhouse for the next couple of days so that it can thoroughly dry out, and prepare seed trays and pots, looking at which vegetables can be grown over winter. You could also harvest any potatoes, squash, courgettes, fennel, beans or pumpkins if you’re feeling extra Autumnal!
Mow for the final time, setting your mower blades higher than usual. This leaves the grass slightly longer over winter. Lawns can be time-consuming or unsuitable for your garden space and soil so maybe consider laying artificial turf. A good idea if you’re unsure whether you want to take the plunge with synthetic grass is to request some fake grass samples to help you decide.
Ponds & wildlife
Try spreading a fine-meshed net across the pond to stop leaves falling in. Cut back the foliage and remove pond pumps and fountains to be stored inside for winter. Take down bird boxes and empty them to prevent diseases. Wash out the boxes with hot water and remember to clean out feeders and bird baths.
Maintain garden equipment
This may be the perfect time to send your lawnmower for a service, ready for next spring. Take this opportunity to sharpen shears and secateurs or wash spades, forks and other tools. To prevent rust thoroughly dry then oil the metal parts, and use linseed oil to clean and protect their wooden handles.
Plant and Sow
Sow spring onions and oriental leaves in your vegetable plot for their early spring crop. Keep your vegetable patch covered during winter by sowing hardy green manures. This could include Field Clover, Hungarian Rye Grass, or Winter Tares. Sow any annual flowers such as Nigella, Ammi Majus and Sweet Rocket and replant winter bedding pansies and wallflowers for a colourful spring display. Plant all your spring flowering bulbs but leave Tulip bulbs until November, and plant soft fruit now while the ground is still warm. Evergreens provide all year round interest so fill any border gaps with Bay or Holly and winter flowering Violas are perfect for adding colour to your garden this chilly season. Autumn flowering Crocus, Japanese Maples, Rudbeckia Goldsturm, or Albizia Summer Chocolate can also help provide some winter colour.