I have finally got to accept that summer is now gone and autumn is definitely here! Those long balmy days are a distant memory but actually now I accept it, I really love autumn!
The changing leaf colours are often more colourful than the flowers of spring and summer and we normally get some lovely crisp, sunny weather in November - some areas of the UK saw the first of the season’s frost this week too.
Many of us tend to give up with the garden at this time of year, but there are still things to do and once you get your warm gardening clothes on there is nothing better than autumn in the garden. I recommend you have an old pair of trousers and boots that you always use for gardening so it doesn’t matter if they get damaged or grubby. Also I always wear my leather pouch containing my favourite secateurs as snipping and pruning is very therapeutic..
Here’s 10 things you should do in the garden this autumn
1. Raking fallen leaves
Keep raking leaves off the lawn because if you don’t the grass may die off underneath and allow moss and thatch to take over;making lighter work of scarifying the lawn in spring...and save your back too!
2. Cut back perennials
Get to work on perennials that have died back and look unsightly, but some plants such as miscanthus and rudbeckia do hold onto their dead stems and flowers, which look stunning in winter.
3. Vegetable planting
A question I am asked a lot is what vegetables can be planted in autumn? You can plant out spring cabbage which will grow slowly over winter and be ready for harvesting from February onwards.
4. Apples and pears
Harvest apples and pears before they fall off the tree and get bruised - if there are still some left on your tree pick them quick and if you’re not sure what to do with them cook them up into pie fillings and freeze...delicious!
5. Prune roses
Prune climbing roses and reduce the height of bush roses to stop them rocking in winter and to encourage new growth in 2021, (prune further in Feb/March if needed). So many people forget to do this and end up with sparse growth the following year.
6. Last mow of the year
One of the last chances to cut your lawn and do any turfing if required - grass stops growing at temperatures below 5°C so growth will slow significantly and even halt over the next few months. Giving the lawn one final trim will help to keep it healthy during winter, keep it at a length of around 2-2.5” inches.
7. Hedge trimming
Trim hedges but don’t go too hard with evergreens - trim just enough so that everything is neat and tidy over winter.
8. Seed saving
Collect seeds from annuals like Cosmos or others that you want to save for spring sowing - seed saving is a great way to save money and even share your seeds with friends and family...just remember to label them!
9. Runner beans
Save runner bean pods, dry them and keep the beans for next year! Some runner bean plants are still going strong but may not be the tastiest to eat at this time of the year, but don’t throw them away.
10. Reduce the spread...of perennials
Lift and divide established perennials that are spreading too wide - another great way to save money and increase the amount of plants in your garden, if you have the space that is.