Autumn Jobs in the Garden
As we are firmly embedded in autumn it is time to enjoy a slower pace in the garden and take advantage of its wonderful months full of explosive autumnal colours and crisp days. You may be surprised to know that it’s nature’s time to establish roots. Many plants, shrubs and trees actually benefit from being planted in autumn, as long as the ground is still warm, to give them a head start for the colder months ahead. Anything hardy can be planted now but watch out for tender plants, these must be brought under cover to protect from frost.
During the dormant season plants which have been grown in open ground are dug up and supplied without soil (hence the name bare-root) ready to be planted in the ideal months of November to March. This can include trees and shrubs, roses and peonies and hedging plants. These are considerably cheaper than established plants grown in pots as they’re aesthetically, on top, not looking their best but the roots are given a head start at getting established. When it comes to trees staking and mulching is a must, and whilst bare-root hedging won’t provide instant screening it’s much more economical when covering a large area. It’s a great idea to plant native hedging where you can, as it provides a veritable feast of berries, hips and seeds for neighbouring birds and other wildlife.
After the scorching summer months grassy areas and lawns suffered damage. Some areas may have bounced back whilst patches remain bare, with no signs of new growth, if this is the case then now is the time to remedy this and restore the lawn to its former lush green glory. The sowing of grass seeds is a simple solution, but you may have to be patient to see growth, and in some instances netting may be required to keep birds from eating the seeds. If you want a more instant look then invest in some rolls of turf and with a bit of graft, it’ll be looking as good as new. Remember, as long as the soil isn’t too wet or waterlogged then it can be done.
If you haven’t done so already tidy perennials by removing dead stems whilst leaving seed heads for birds to gather food from. It is also much easier to prune during autumn when the leaves have dropped, to get rid of any dead or diseased wood allowing the growth of new stems. Don’t forget that composted leaves make great leaf mould for mulch which is full of nutrients and that garden compost can be added to a freshly dug-over vegetable patch, ready for spring planting and sowing. If you’re looking for a splash of colour in your borders and pots then why not add some winter bedding plants? Pansies, helleborus and cyclamen are great plants for doing just that and come in a range of cheery colours, perfect for the autumn/winter garden.
When all your jobs are done, sit back and soak up the delights that an autumn day can bring and start planning for the next gardening year. Perhaps you’re thinking of a redesign of flower boarders or want to incorporate some vegetable beds into your garden scheme, if you take the time to plan now you’ll be one step ahead and prepared for the year to come.