Autumn, and October especially, is the perfect time for planting roses in your garden. The soil is warm and workable...
Well, yet again time is flying by and suddenly it seems that winter is just around the corner. Exactly what winter may bring this year is anyone’s guess but whether it’s rain, hail, snow or just the reduced hours of daylight, we’ll have much less available time to spend in the garden. All is not lost though as every garden needs planning and the inevitable ‘less hospitable’ days can be a great time to sit down and see what improvements could be made. Perusing through gardening magazines can be the perfect way to source ideas, especially when the weather does little to inspire.
Before we settle down into our winter planning stage, however, there is still much work to be done. Autumn leaf fall, although a truly amazing phenomenon is bit of a pain to clean up after, but it’s a necessary task, especially where lawns are concerned. If there’s considerable leaf fall in your garden it’s always worth collecting the leaves to make leaf mould, a fantastic homemade compost for next year (see above on how to do this).
By this time every year we’ll find the majority of our herbaceous perennials have begun to die back. As this happens, a good chop back to just above ground level followed by a good application of mulch works for most herbaceous plants. (If you’re unsure of what to do with certain plants pop into the garden centre for advice). The aforementioned application of mulch not only provides winter protection but also maintains aesthetic appeal, suppresses any weed growth and will also act as a soil improver as it breaks down.
If you’ve got everything looking tidy and organised, then there’s still time to plant spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Now that you’ve tidied up the perennials it’s a lot easier to see where any new bulbs may fit in.
If the weather so allows you to tidy up pots and troughs, do ensure that, once they’ve achieved their aesthetic appeal, they are raised up on pot feet or bricks to prevent water-logging and, in the event of hard frosts, the potential ‘crack-pot’ syndrome.
It may be November but the garden doesn’t have to be dull. As deciduous trees and shrubs slowly but surely lose their leaves and flowering plants become few and far between, we start to look at other attributes that we find aesthetically pleasing. The bright stems of Cornus, for example, are stunning, providing tall spires of pinks, oranges, reds and lime greens throughout the winter season. Cornus sanguinea ‘Mid-Winter Fire’ (orange) and Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’(lime green) are particularly eye-catching.