Summer has turned to Autumn and soon the season will change to Winter, as sure as night follows day
“Autumn: Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!”
Thank you, John Keats for my most remembered line of poetry!
And with the change of season in the garden comes a change of pace.
I saw an article recently, actually probably more than one, talking about the tasks to be done this month to put the garden to bed! I really, really, r.e.a.l.l.y do not like that phrase! It is so gloomy, depressing and final! Why? Because it implies the end of day, “put away your toys and go to bed” in a kind of authoritarian commanding way, we all resented as children (or was it only me……). Just as the announce of the end of the School summer holiday put a dampener on my spirit
No! I won’t! (Stamps foot defiantly!)
Yes! There are things that need to be done now. (Ok rant over with) However, I am prefer to think of the tasks for the season of Autumn like “Spring-cleaning” is to the home (apologies for the confusion of season there), lots of cleaning and prepping for the coming year, planning, scheming, list-making, changing, and reviewing. Now doesn’t that sound more positive and cheery? Looking forward to the new gardening year, whilst enjoying happy days of frost-tipped seed pods and grasses and scrunching leaves underfoot. Time to enjoy the details of the garden afresh, that have been ‘lost’ under the wealth of Summer blooms. Time to stop and look at the garden instead of hurtling around trying to keep up with the pace of everything.
So What Do You Need To Do?
Make a List! To help, I have created one for you, just click on this link to get your GARDEN TASK FREEBIE
Then have a look around the garden and note anything you can see needs attention. Here are some suggestions:-
Cut back perennial plants that are beyond their prime, and clear away tatty soggy heaps of wet foliage. Leave standing, for as long as possible the dried seed heads, grasses etc whose skeletal shape adds interest and structure in the winter, not to mention food and habitat for wildlife.
Try to get the lawn cut one last time before it gets too long and wet, and if you get caught out on that one, try at least to tidy the lawn edges.
Leaves should be swept off Lawns so that the grass below does get rank and slimy but the leaves can be left on flower beds where there is bare soil, worms will drag them below ground (Think forest floor -who sweeps those?)
Don’t burn leaves – make leaf mould instead! Bag the leaves up – puncture the base of the bag a few times for drainage, and leave them in a hidden corner – in a year you will have beautiful leafmould for compost.
♣TIP: If you shred the leaves by running the Mower over them before bagging them up, they break down quicker♣
Give the Greenhouse a “Spring clean”. Clear out the vegetable plants that have finished, sweep the floor clear of debris, clean the shading paint from the glass, clean and put away any shade blinds you have. If you have an unheated Greenhouse that you would like to utilize through the colder months, consider fixing bubble wrap on the inside. It will raise the temperature a little and hold in the heat for longer, enabling you to start seeds off and grow winter crops that benefit from a little protection.
Looking forward: Spring planting
Have you planted your Bulbs yet? Clear away the Summer bedding plants out of containers, replenish the compost and plant a Bulb Lasagne (ie multi-layered planting) for a continual display next Spring. You can read about choosing and planting bulbs here.
Talking of containers, I picked up a useful tip recently when I visited Highgrove gardens – the home of HRH Prince Charles:-
♣TIP: to protect ceramic/terracotta pots from frost damage fill them with Bark chippings, as they raise the temperature enough to protect the container♣
Do not leave pots full of compost that can then freeze (it expands when frozen which is why pots crack) and if you are really not sure that a container is suitable for all weathers move it to somewhere sheltered
Other Tasks for Autumn
On those days that really are too wet but you want to be doing something garden related check out this post for ideas
And finally, take time to reflect on what worked this year, what you have enjoyed most, what could be improved, and what you want to do next year. The Garden Task Sheet is a great way to make a note of all your thoughts and ideas. Why not print out a couple of sheets and start planning? You can get your copy by clicking on the link here
If you have any thoughts about what I have written today why not drop me a line.? How do you feel about “putting the garden to bed”? I would love to hear about your garden and what you do to prepare for next season.