As pumpkins are appearing on the shop shelves and the leaves fall from the trees, there is no denying that autumn has arrived. We run through the most pressing tasks in the garden at this time of year.
The leaves look glorious when they turn russet and gold, and as they elegant fall to the ground. However, they are less beautiful when they turn into a soggy mess in your garden. Rake regularly to stop the leaves from rotting down on your lawn, and to let the light get to grass and plants. This can be a tedious job, but it is important that you keep on top of falling leaves throughout autumn as failure to do so can result in blocked drains and “suffocated” plants.
The Final Cut
Mow weekly throughout autumn, until the grass stops growing. Depending on temperature, rainfall and exposure to sunlight, you may well give your lawn its final mow this month - cooler temperatures, shadier areas and less rainfall will cause your grass to stop growing throughout the winter. If there is an early frost or it is particularly wet, don’t mow! Always avoid mowing on either very soft or frozen ground.
Spruce Up Your Pots
If your spring summer containers and hanging baskets are past their best, replace them with winter plants. Dwarf hebes and conifers or cordylines look fantastic in a hanging basket and offer a little winter cheer on even the dreariest of days.
Get Ready For Spring
Spring may seem ages away, but if you think ahead now, you will be rewarded with a spectacular display of colour come spring. Daffodils, tulips and aliums can be dotted in borders or even throughout your lawn for a delightful springtime “surprise”.
The Last Supper
Make the most of the final harvest and pick, pickle, freeze or make chutneys out of those last beans, peas and courgettes. If you’ve had a bumper crop, you may be a little fed up by now, but you will be grateful for your labours later in the year. If your pumpkins and squashes are looking good, make sure that you keep an eye on them and harvest them before the first frost; if you leave it too late, they will quickly go to mush. If harvesting cabbages, leave the root in the ground and cut a cross in the top of the stem to promote regrowth.
There is no doubt that gardening is a labour of love, but you will reap the rewards of your labour in months to come. If you are struggling to find the time (or inclination!) to do what you want to in the garden, you could consider finding a reliable local gardener. For a bit of landscaping or regular maintenance, a professional gardener can help you to make the most of your outdoor space.