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Autumn Gardening

Autumn is upon us, the evenings are gradually drawing in and winter is fast approaching. So what can garden owners look forward to in the autumn? This is the time for trees and hedging; fruit trees and fruit bushes; roses and bulbs and garlic.

Keep leaves off lawns

Trees lose their foliage gradually throughout the autumn, so leaves need to be raked up regularly. This doesn’t just keep your lawn looking good, it keeps it healthy too. Any leaves left lying on the lawn trap moisture around the grass and encourage fungal lawn problems. Keep a lawn rake or leaf blower handy and use regularly. Also remember to trim back any overhanging plants around the lawn edges.

Plant bulbs

Autumn is the time to plant spring bulbs such as daffodils, crocuses and tulips, along with hardy summer-flowering ones like lillies and alliums. Using high quality compost in your containers pays dividends, helping stop your bulbs ‘fading’ after the first year of flowering.

Sweet pea success

Sweet peas are one of the joys of the summer garden, and if you want the best possible display next year, October is the best time to sow. Autumn sowings will produce healthier plants, with better blooms and a longer flowering season. Sow seeds 3cm deep in terracotta pots and keep them above 15C until they germinate. Once sprouted move to an unheated greenhouse. They will survive all but the bitterest weather.

Grow Asters

Asters win a five-star rating for ease of cultivation. They are easy-going plants that tolerate a wide range of soil types. They are absolute stars when it comes to providing late-season colour, a fact reflected in their traditional name ‘Michaelmas daisies’. Unless autumn is unseasonably chilly you can easily have asters blooming in your garden well into November and sometimes even December. One of our favourites is the classic cottage garden Michaelmas daisy, Aster Symphyotrichum.

What to do now

  • Pick apples frequently before they become damaged so they won’t deteriorate in storage.
  • Revamp your bedding. Remove tired summer flowers, then plant new frost-tolerant ones.
  • Continue planting out spring bulbs, such as daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses.
  • Make leaf mould.
  • Harvest cabbages.
  • Plant lettuces in a cool greenhouse, for daily salads this winter.
  • Collect and store seeds somewhere cool and dry until next spring.

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