Heading into Autumn

As the days get shorter and chillier, what should you be doing to keep your garden looking its best?

Autumn leaves in the garden

What to do in your garden in September...

Get planting spring bulbs

September is the perfect time to start planting your spring bulbs such as crocus, daffodils, and hyacinths. The ground will still be nice and warm from the summer months, and it gives plenty of time for the new roots of the bulb to establish ready for when the spring sunshine arrives.

Keep some colour and interest

Plant containers and hanging baskets for autumn interest using cyclamen, heather, heuchera, pansy and trailing ivy.

Seed picking

Collect ripe seed from your favourite herbaceous perennials and annuals, store them in paper bags or envelopes, keep them in a cool dry environment ready to sow next spring.

Divide herbaceous perennials

This will keep your plants healthy and vigorous year after year and multiply your stocks.

Autumn cleaning

Clean cold frames, and glasshouses, remove all plants, staging and debris, wash down with a good quality disinfectant or detergent mixed in a hot water solution, pay attention to those areas which may harbour any pest and disease, wash windows, gutters and tools thoroughly

    ... as we head into October...

    Cutting back

    Cut back perennials that have died down.

    Divide herbaceous perennials

    Lift the crown or clump of perennial from the ground and using either a garden spade or saw cut it into fist size portions, where upon these new formed plants can be replanted or potted on. Fleshy-rooted perennials, such as peonies, should be left until the end of their dormant season in late spring, before being divided. You can transplant perennials anytime until the ground freezes in the autumn, or wait to transplant them in the spring

    Prune climbing roses 

    A good rule of thumb for pruning climbing rosebushes is to not prune them for two or three years, this will allow them to form their long arching canes. Remove any diseased, damaged, or any crossing or awkwardly placed branches. To form the main framework of the climber for next spring look for strong healthy canes with plenty of swelling buds or side shoots (called laterals). Prune each of the lateral and parallel shoots down to two or five buds, always cutting about ΒΌ inch above the bud.

    Get winter ready

    Lift and pot up tender perennials, such as chocolate cosmos, gazanias and coleus, to protect over winter.

    Plant some evergreens

    Traditionally September and October is the ideal time to plant evergreen shrubs and conifer hedges while the soil is still warm. Transplant deciduous shrubs that are in the wrong place or have outgrown their current position.

    ... and as we land in November

    Tidy up

    Clear up fallen leaves especially from lawns, ponds and beds.

    Find shelter

    Tender plants will need protecting from frost, gales and freezing rains. Move plants into the greenhouse, or into a sheltered spot. Insulate outdoor containers from frost bubble wrap works well.

    Trim the grass

    Give grass a light trim if weather conditions are still mild and the grass is still growing.

    Leaf sweeping

    Collect all the fallen leaves in your garden and create your own leaf mould, Use an aerator for spiking lawns and brush horticultural grit into the holes to improve drainage keep off the lawn if soil conditions are wet or frosty to avoid damaging the grass.

    Give your tools some love

    Clean, sharpen and oil garden tools.

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