You’ve had the last family BBQ, your bright flower-filled borders are fading, and the nights seem to be getting longer every day. It’s autumn, a season we know and love for beautiful amber colours and leaves crunching beneath our feet.
But it’s no time to relax on the gardening front – it’ll be winter before you know it, so it’s time to prepare your garden and protect it from the many frosty mornings approaching. Here are 8 top tips for leaving your garden ready for spring, this autumn.
Clear out the compost heap ready for the autumnal clear up, which always means a huge amount of plant material. Use last year’s compost around the garden, or if it’s not quite ready yet, create a new heap – because extra compost always comes in handy!
Start to dig up those annuals and put them in the compost. If you’d like, you can replant them with winter bedding like wallflowers, bellis or pansies in preparation for a colourful spring. Cut any perennials to around 5cm – but don’t be too tidy, as some have lovely seed heads which look beautiful covered in autumn dew. Once your borders are looking a little tidier, make sure to add a layer of compost to them.
You can buy something called a horticultural fleece to wrap up those sensitive plants; it’s just like using a blanket! You could even use an old fleece jumper to put over the plant. Although it may seem a bit daft, it’s worth it to help them survive the winter.
Autumn is an ideal time to freshen up a dull lawn. If you have a large amount of moss, you might need to use a moss killer. Otherwise, get rid of any thatch or moss simply using a rake, and chuck it in the composter. If some areas of your lawn tend to get a lot of water, it can compact and damage the soil. You can easily improve drainage by using a garden fork to make holes every 10cm or so around the area. Lay down some lawn feed to prep the lawn for the chilly weather that’s on its way.
The more evergreens you have, the better your garden will look in winter. It’s as simple as that! Warm soil and cool weather make autumn ideal to fill up your borders. Daphne or sarcococca will bring a burst of colour in the winter, with it’s bright green leaves, so get planting now.
Placing a net over ponds is a simple task that will save you work later on. Decomposing matter can block filters and leave ponds looking foul. Spread a meshed net across the pond and pin it down with bricks to catch falling leaves – which you can then add to the compost heap.
What better time to give your greenhouse a deep clean and declutter than after the busy summer? Remove your plants, before giving the greenhouse a good sweep. Using a garden disinfectant, clean up the greenhouse paths and the inside glass, before ventilating until dry. This will work wonders to prevent pests and diseases over the winter. Over the quieter garden months, you should wash seed trays and pots ready for busy spring.
Lastly, give your gardening equipment some TLC before storing it for the winter. Lawn mowers and other electrical tools should be serviced so they are in perfect working order for spring. Sharpen shears and secateurs; wash and clean spades, forks and other tools. Remember to dry thoroughly and oil wood and metal parts to prevent the onset of rot or the growth of rust.
So there you have it. A bit of effort now will pay dividends next spring, leaving you more time to enjoy your beautiful outside space for longer.