A gardener’s work is never done, which is why, although you’ve probably taken care of most of next season’s planting by now, you’ll be left with a multitude of other tasks to complete before you can temporarily hang up your gardening gloves – for a few weeks at least.
Because we know that an ardent gardener finds said few weeks an anxious period we’ve devised an autumn garden check-list – please let us know if you think we’ve missed anything!
- Give the garden a thorough clear up and get rid of general debris,
- Clean and oil all garden tools before storing them away safely in the garden shed,
- Cover or stow away garden furniture to prevent damage during winter,
- Ensure your greenhouse is insulated, clean and maximum light is getting through,
- Rake up fallen leaves once the last have fallen and compost them for leaf mould – remember you can speed up the rotting process by sprinkling throughout with a little fertilizer,
- Empty water pipes and hoses to prevent cracking and breakages – and a costly start to spring!
- Any container plants that will be spending the winter outside should have their pots wrapped in bubble wrap or be buried in the ground for insulation,
- Don’t be tempted to plant anything less that hardy and tolerant bulbs, shrubs and perennials – especially when it comes to those that you’re leaving outside. Try growing some hardy bamboo if you want to create something fairly abundant quickly. Bamboo is robust and fast growing but it can also be easily divided and makes the perfect screen or boundary,
- Plant tulip bulbs deeply enough to be covered by a minimum of 3” (7.5cm) of soil. For bedding, arrange the bulbs evenly over the soil surface, before you plant. For informal displays, plant in random groups. In large pots or containers, you can plant tulips in layers, on above the other, for a bigger show – a spring take on the lasagne planting that we mentioned last week,
- Do a final round of pruning and dead heading – you can continue this for as long as the weather allows but you’ll probably be done by the end of this month. Always try to allow leaves to completely die off and peel back before removing them – forcing them off can cause damage,
- Bring tender plants indoors – or into a greenhouse – before the first air frost. Pick off dead, damaged or diseased leaves and flowers and prune back any damaged or awkward stems,
- Grow your own micro winter garden with some beautiful indoor varieties,
- Take care of nature and it will take care of you…
- Back outside, hedgehogs move into semi-hibernation, making themselves nests with dry leaves. Make sure there’s enough leafy undergrowth for them to hide in,
- Birds benefit from feeding throughout winter and spring. If you haven’t got a pond then make sure feeding stations are in the open where cats cannot stalk them without being seen,
- Remove dead leaves from ponds where possible to reduce the amount of rotting vegetation.