Gardener’s 101: How to care for your garden in the autumn

Posted on Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Want to get your garden in tip top condition? Then here are a few hints and tips on how to go about it:

Colour considerations

Autumn is the perfect time to revamp your garden, ready for a splendid display next spring and summer. So, now’s the time to plant bulbs like Narcissus and Tulips, as they are great value, and deliver a powerful punch of colour when few other things are flowering.

In the case of bulbs, more is more, so plant them on mass, in groups of at least ten and many more if you want them to naturalise in grass. As a rule of thumb, Dan Pearson recommends planting bulbs at two and a half times their own depth.       

Autumn is also the time to plant any new shrubs and trees you’d like to introduce into your garden. So give a thought to what’s worked this year and what hasn’t, consider the colour, texture, and height of your planting schemes and adapt them as required.

Stow away

Lift and store your tender plants such as Begonias and Dahlias at the first hint of a frost. Cut the stems down to about two inches, then lift the plants and place them in soil filled trays or pots, somewhere the frost can’t reach them, like in your garage or garden shed.   

Divide and multiply

Cut back the tops of your herbaceous perennials too, leaving no more than six inches of growth. More mature plants will show die back in the centre of the clump, with healthy growth around – and that’s a good time to divide the plant.

As a general rule, dig up the clump and using two forks back to back; divide your plant into several smaller clumps, ready for replanting. However, some herbaceous perennials require different treatment, so check on the RHS website for further information, as you’d expect, it’s a mine of useful gardening information. Also, if your herbaceous perennials sport seed heads then leave them for the birds and the architectural interest they’ll provide.   

Leaves be gone

Rake up the leaves on your lawn and add them to your compost heap or store them in fastened black plastic bags to be used as mulch in future years. The leaves which have fallen on your flower beds you can leave.  

Love your lawn

Autumn is also the time to give your lawn a little care and attention. Improve the drainage by pushing a garden fork into your lawn, then moving it backwards and forwards a little, before repeating this process about every four inches across the turf. Then add a top dressing to improve the look and health of the grass. Autumn is also the perfect time to re-sow any bald patches or lay new turf.

A cosy layer

Add a mulch to your flower beds as it will improve the soil, help the plants and give a good finish too. A general compost is ideal, as are your broken down garden leaves from previous years.

Fix and fasten

Have a look around your garden and keep on top of any repairs and maintenance. Check your fences, sheds, and greenhouses for any outstanding repairs that might worsen in poor weather; and don’t leave anything lying around that could cause damage in high winds.

So there you have a checklist of jobs for your garden this autumn, now it’s time to get gardening.