How to enjoy your garden throughout the Autumn
Garden use should never just be restricted to just a couple of months in the summer, and there are many ways you can make it easier to be outside enjoying your garden all year round, says Michael McGarr, award-winning garden designer at Warnes McGarr & Co.
Look at new outdoor heating technology
We’re always looking for the latest outdoor products, and are currently trialling infrared heating panels which are imported from Australia and can be installed discreetly into any garden surface such as walls, paving or pergolas.
Infrared heaters are very energy efficient, especially compared to traditional patio heaters. They are immensely stylish and generally very slim (around 2cm thick) which makes it easy to fit them on walls or other fixtures.
Invest in a wood-fired oven
Cooking on an open fire is by far the greatest way to achieve a longer season outdoors, and top-of-the-range wood fired ovens, such as the Alfa pizza oven that we supply to clients, not only cook amazingly but provide plenty of warmth long after you’ve finished cooking, making it an excellent accompaniment to other evening activities such as drinking gin and playing monopoly.
Retaining this heat is the trump card of wood-fired ovens over traditional gas cooking, and they can cook smoky thin-based pizzas in less than five minutes at top temperatures. And due to this ultimate heat retention, you can even cook a shoulder of pork through the night while you sleep off the gin, for delicious pulled pork the next day.
Plant your winter crops
It’s never too late to start planting some kind of vegetable crop, even if you’ve been too busy all summer to start. Rhubarb crowns are available to be planted, along with asparagus, garlic and seed potatoes in the autumn months to ensure a harvest for Christmas.
Quick-growing crops such as pak choi, spinach and radishes can also be planted to supply salads or stir-fries throughout the autumn.
Plant unusual fruit trees in for next summer
Autumn is also the season to plant fruit trees, such as the traditional easy-to-grow apple and pear trees. However, we like to encourage our clients to think outside the box and plant something a little different, that also looks fantastic.
The Medlar fruit tree (Mespilus germanica) is ideal for our climate and have a they have a truly beautiful autumn colour. Medlar – known as ‘dogs’ arse fruit’ to the French – look like large rose hips and were enjoyed by the Romans and the Victorians but are very difficult to find these days because they don’t really appeal to our polished modern consumer tastes. This tree is perfect for growing in a domestic garden as you can keep them small, and they need a cold frost in order to ripen in the summer.
Plant ornamental trees for Autumn colour
Instead of the typical Japanese maple tree – which are indeed beautiful – we do encourage clients to look to other trees that also create some beautiful autumn colour.
We love the Amelanchier tree (also known as Shadbush or Juneberry), and they are far more rewarding to grow than the obvious Japanese maple. This is another small tree, again which is ideal for a standard domestic garden, which has white flowers in spring and beautiful red and orange leaves in autumn. It’s gorgeous and looks perfect in a contemporary garden, without requiring too much space.
At the end of the day, there is always plenty to do out in the garden if you are willing to get outside and enjoy it. Chopping wood for the fire, or your wood-fired oven, is far more entertaining than watching the Great British Bake off and experimenting with growing fruits and veg is much more fun than walking round the supermarket.