It's the end of Summer...
It is now officially Autumn, and that means your garden is about to go through more changes than the Great British Bake Off. Here are the top things you need to do for your garden to prepare it for the cold months ahead.
Plant Spring Bulbs
It may seem early to start thinking about next Spring, but for the best blossoms you should be considering planting now. Look at what’s worked for your garden this year and what changes you’d like to make next summer. Lay out a plan for your garden and think ahead to your ideal look – getting it right involves planning ahead. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different varieties – when it comes to flowers, the more colours you can mix in, the better. So explore the varieties available in garden centres and online sellers and get a head start on next year’s flower garden.
For the best results, look for bulbs described as “hardy”, or “spring flowering”. Most sellers will include information on the best times to plant bulbs on the packets – you’ll find there are plenty of varieties out there that require much earlier planting than you’d think. Give them plenty of space in containers, borders or flowerbeds with good drainage and remember to water them regularly through winter – if the rain doesn’t get them enough!
Not patient enough to wait until Spring? No problem, there are plenty of winter bedding plants that will bring a splash of colour to the grey tones of the British Winter. Look for plants like cyclamen coum, primroses and violas – many of these will have been cultivated to bring out their best colours throughout winter and are available to plant now.
As the ground is coated with leaves, it’s time to get the rake out. Not only will clearing up dead leaves benefit your lawn by allowing the grass to soak up whatever brief glimpses of sunlight it can find, you can also use what you collect to make mulch.
The easiest and neatest way to do this is to collect dead leaves in a large bin bag, soak them with water and poke a few holes. Then leave the bags in a corner of the garden, shed, garage or anywhere else where they can live out of the way for 12 months. By next year the leaves will have broken down and turned to a healthy mulch, and the cycle can continue. Mix this mulch in to compost or spread over the lawn – the nutrients from the fermented leaves will aid new growths and help your new plants grow stronger and more beautiful than ever. It’s the perfect recycling system.
The last big mow
Grass grows slower in colder months, though will only stop growing completely once the temperature is below 5 degrees C. So depending on how mild the Autumn is, your final mow of the year could be needed anywhere from early September to mid-November. Keep an eye on the temperature and get the mower out once it starts to get really chilly. With any luck you’ll time it right and the lawn can be left alone without any maintenance until that glorious first bank holiday in spring.