The nights are getting cooler, the days shorter, it’s time for the annual autumn clean up in the garden.
Remove fallen leaves, dead flowers and summer annuals past their best. Prune back excess growth on shrubs running rampant. Plant any bare patches with flowers for autumn colour - Helenium, for example, whose tall flowers create a burst of red, orange, and yellow, and Rudbeckia which producesshowy sunflower-likeyellow or gold flower heads.
Winter-flowering annuals should be put in now. Mass planting the likes of Primula malacoides, which comes in a wide variety of hues, creates a stunning vista in the winter garden.
Plant spring bulbs before the soil gets too cold, thoroughly preparing the soil first and adding a bulb fertiliser for best results come spring.
This is one of the best times to plant and reposition shrubs and trees. At this time of year, the soil is still warm but moisture levels are starting to increase and they will put on healthy root growth ready to burst into growth come spring.
Most import for all gardens, however, is to rejuvenate the soil. Compost’s nutrient-rich organic material will give your garden a great boost for the next growing season and/or adding a balanced fertiliser that contains potassium which encourages healthy roots. Mulch will also improve the quality of your soil, help retain moisture and supress weeds.
Need to sow a new lawn or reconditiona sparse existing one? Autumn is the ideal time to do this when soils are still warm but retaining moisture and there are consequently less weeds emerging.
Feeding your existing lawn in autumn will encourage growth; spread lawn fertiliser to the area designated for a new lawn just before sowing, taking into account too much may burn the young grass.
Make way for winter crops in the vegetable garden and add lots of compost to enhance the soil. This is a good time to plant brassicas such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and brussels sprouts, getting them established before winter sets in. Don’t forget the bait to ward off maraudering slugs and snails or you will be left with a line of chewed off stumps!