Autumn is is finally here this week, after a last blast of summer warmth.  The clocks will go back at the end of the month which I loath – all that lost time in the garden!  So it is time to begin work on putting the garden to bed for the winter whilst the weather is still good and you don’t have to don thermals yet.

As summer bedding in containers begins to look very tired, later this month plant them up with winter bedding, such as pansies, heathers, evergreen grasses and small shrubs with underlying bulbs for a winter into spring show.

Now is the time to start your spring bulb planting with narcissus.  Dog owners do watch out as the bulbs are very poisonous to dogs.  Our dog ‘Bailey’ is a year old now and we will keep a close watch on him to make sure he does not grab one to play with.

When we think about bulbs in the garden we often don’t think about autumn flowering bulbs such as Nerines and Colchicums (autumn flowering crocus), you could also add in Cyclamen  hederifolium with dainty pink for white flowers.  Review where you need a burst of colour in your autumn garden and remember to order some for next year.

As the leaves fall, harvest them for compost.

Tidy up small shrubs, remove dead flowers or damaged shoots.

Tidy up your plant borders, remove weeds from between plants, cut down herbaceous plants and split any old ones and replant new younger growth whilst the soil is still warm and they can settle in before the weather becomes really cold.  Add a mulch to the border.

Lift tender bulbs and tubers and store in a dry cool frost-free place.  Or for bulbs such as Dahlias, if your garden is more sheltered, cut them down to the ground as the first frosts start and add a good pile of soil or mulch on top of the plant for winter protection.

At the end of the month, or when the frosts begin,  move tender plants under cover into a frost-free area.

Keep going on autumn lawn maintenance, scarifing, aerating and sowing seed or turf into bare patches.

Last but now least, enjoy the autumn colours.

A container planted for winter with bulbs for spring ….