You saw your garden blossom this summer thanks to your green-fingered efforts in the spring. Now autumn has arrived, we know it’s tempting to hang up the gardening gloves for winter already. But some extra steps now will reduce the amount of gardening facing you next spring. This list of essential tasks will help your garden sleep soundly over winter, ready to burst into life in spring.
Once the trees are bare, rake away fallen leaves before they get too mulchy — and slippery! It’s also a good idea to either remove or bury spent plants. Decay above ground can harbour pests or fungus, but burying old plants can help your soil. It adds organic matter and nutrients, improving the overall health of your soil.
Sure, some flowering weeds look lovely in summer. But come autumn, it’s time to nip those wily weeds in the bud! Some particularly invasive weeds continue to grow in compost heaps or weed piles. So, after removing them completely, consider burning them or throwing them away.
Remember the compost heap that’s been steadily growing all year? Now’s the time to let the well-rotted material do its magic! Spread it over the soil — like we would a facemask — to rejuvenate and replenish nutrients over winter.
Some plants and trees that live year after year benefit from pruning in the autumn with sharp secateurs (gardening scissors). Some don’t. Confusing, we know! To simplify things, use the guide below as to which perennials to prune in autumn.
Herbs: lavender, rosemary, thyme, sage
Vegetables: asparagus, rhubarb
Flowers: delphiniums, peonies, lupins, phlox, lilies, geraniums
As we move inside when the cold weather sets in, some plants should come with us! Bring tropical potted plants like palms into the conservatory or greenhouse for protection over winter. Bulbed plants like dahlias and cannas also do best when brought indoors to avoid frost.
Once you’ve cut back plants in autumn, apply a generous layer of mulch to the soil. This helps regulate temperature and minimise frost damage as your garden transitions into winter. Now, where's that lovely cuppa tea after all your hard work?