Autumn is a great time to do a complete clear up in your garden; getting rid of dead foliage leftover from summer and tidying your borders, among other tasks will prepare your garden for the arrival of the colder months ahead, and give it a better chance of vibrantly blooming when spring comes along.
Here are the top 7 tips to make the most of your autumn garden:
1. Plant evergreens
Warm soil and cooler air temperatures make autumn the perfect time to fill the gaps in your garden with evergreens. During those drab winter months, evergreens like sarcococca and daphne provide glossy leaves and fragrant flowers, while fatsia offers larger foliage.
2. Tidy up borders
To give your garden the best chance of blooming next spring, cut back faded perennials to 5 cm from the ground, and dig up annuals. Plant your beds with pansies, bellis daisies and wallflowers. Once your borders are tidy, spread a thick layer of compost, bark chips or manure; there’s no need to dig it in, the worms will quickly get to work.
3. Plant spring bulbs
If you’re keen to have blooming daffodils and tulips popping up in your garden in spring, then you’ll need to plant them now. Once you’ve cleared your borders, get those bulbs in. If you put in the work now, you’ll see the fruits of your labour bloom in spring.
4. Lawn maintenance
Use a spring-tined rake to remove thatch and moss from your lawn and add it to your compost heap. Brush in a sandy top dressing and then apply autumn lawn feed to prepare your lawn for the winter chills. If you need to lay new turf then autumn is ideal, it gives it enough time to get established before summer hits. An autumn lawn tip to improving drainage and aeration around paths, is to make deep holes with a garden fork at 10 cm intervals.
5. Make use of pesky fallen leaves
Leaf mould is a fantastic way to recycle all of those pesky fallen leaves; it adds structure and organic matter to your soil. Using wire mesh and wooden stakes, make a large bin in a sheltered spot. Fill it with leaves and then sprinkle with water. Once the leaves have a crumbly texture, spread the leaf mould as a mulch through your borders. If you’re keen to speed things up, shred the leaves first, but generally you’ll have to wait up to two years for it to be useable.
6. Lift delicate species
Species like begonias, dahlias, and cannas won’t survive the frosts. Cut back the stems, gently lift them from the ground, then clean and store in trays of dry compost or sand, with just the top visible. Store the trays in a cool, frost free place throughout the winter, ready for replanting in the spring.
7. Net ponds
Those fallen autumn leaves are more than just a pain in your side, they can block the filters in your garden pond pumps. Catch them before they hit your pond but netting your pond with a fine mesh. You can use the leaves that fall onto the net for your leaf mould.
Now that your autumn garden has been tidied up, it’s ready for that winter chill. It’ll also give you a head start for spring when it’s time to get growing again.
If you’re thinking about redesigning your garden in time for summer, here are 5 things to consider before you start.