The nights are drawing in, you’re eyeing up the big coat and are even giving the thermostat a second glance as you walk past. Summer’s definitely on its way out but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do in the garden.
There’s a certain amount of preparation you can do before winter sets in to protect your garden against the cold, but there’s also a lot of nicer, fun things you can do to keep your garden looking great.
Here is your autumn gardening checklist filled with loads of tips and advice to keep you busy. Go on, get that big coat…
Make use of available light
As the days get shorter, we naturally get less light into our garden, meaning plants and flowers are more likely to die off quicker. Try and get as much light into your garden as possible by trimming hedges and pruning any shrubs or bushes that have got out of control. If you have a greenhouse, then give those windows a good scrub so that light can get through to any plants you have in there.
If your lawn is looking a little worse for wear then autumn is an ideal time to put some work into it. You can remove thatch and moss using a rake, although moss killer may be required if you have a lot of it. You can expect a higher amount of rainfall during autumn and winter and you can prepare for this by improving the drainage and aeration.
Check out our Ultimate Lawn Care Guide infographic by clicking the banner below.
Trim perennials back by 5cm
If you have perennials in your garden, then it’s time to give them a bit of a trim to encourage them to keep growing and to shape them if they’ve become a little unruly over the summer. Trim them back by about 5cm so they keep most of their shape but the deadheads are taken off.
Replace annuals with winter plants
Your summer annuals are likely on their last legs if they’re not already dead, so it’s time to replace these with autumn and winter plants. Plants that are great for the winter include pansies, violas, primrose, wallflower and forget-me-nots, all of which will keep some colour in your garden over the winter months.
Net ponds to guard against leaves
With more and more leaves falling from the trees, it’s importance to put fine netting over your pond to ensure leaves don’t fall in it. Any leaves that are trapped by the netting can be removed and put in the compost.
If you’re concerned about your plants and flowers dying over the winter, then planting evergreens is an excellent way to ensure some permanent structure to your garden. Holly, box and fatsia will provide some nice greenery, whilst something like Daphne plants actually flower over winter months, giving some much-needed colour to your garden.
Fill up that compost
As many of the plants and shrubs in your garden start to die off, there’s going to be an increase in the amount of detritus (posh name for dead organic matter) lying around. Don’t throw it away, however; it’ll make fantastic compost.
We spoke to Becky, horticultural advisor from the Royal Horticultural Society, about composting and she gave this advice:
“Autumn is a great time to reflect, review and also to turn your compost heap. It should be pretty full from this year’s grass cuttings and general gardening clippings, so speed up the composting process and give it a good old turn – this is also a good task for burning off those extra holiday pounds!
Becky also gave us this very sound advice:
“Review your poor old soil and give empty veg plots a treat by sowing some green manure to protect and revive them ready for next year’s growing season. Then reflect and look back on the year while lead raking; this is a great task for getting into the zone and doing some hands-on gardening. Remember: try not to leaf rake on a windy day, as the winds make a wonderful task purely annoying!”
It’s rose season
Autumn is when bare-root roses are at their very best, so if you want some wonderful colours and smells in your garden, then this is what you should be planting. Plant just as leaves start to fall from the trees but don’t leave it too late or it could end up being too cold. Here’s some more information about planting roses that might be of use.
Plant spring flowering bulbs
If you want some delightful spring flowers in your garden then you need to get planting between October and December before the coldest weather starts. There are loads of spring flowering bulbs you can choose from: crocus, daffodil, tulip, bluebell, pleione just to name but a few.
Take hardwood cuttings
If you have some tree and shrubs that you want to propagate then you can take cuttings from them in the autumn. Cuttings should be about 5-10cm tall for shrubs and 20cm for trees with the lower leaves removed before being placed in small pots of premium soil or damp compost.
Here are some more tips on taking cuttings.
Because weeding is an all-year-round issue and the bane of many gardeners’ lives. Increased rainfall should make the soil softer so it’s easier to remove weeds. Any disease-free weeds can be composted.
Harvest your crops
Spring is when you’ll be doing most of your planting, so now it’s time to harvest those lovely vegetables you’ve been waiting for. Most vegetables can be harvested throughout autumn, although there are individual difference – there’s even the odd thing that can be planted (hello broad beans!).
We’ve got you covered here. Our amazing interactive vegetable growing guide tells you what and when you need to plant and harvest depending on where you live and your climate. Click the banner below to get started and make your very own personalised guide.
Do you have any top autumn gardening tips? If so, let us know in the comments below.