Autumn, and October especially, is the perfect time for planting roses in your garden. The soil is warm and workable...
The nights may be drawing in, but you can still get lots of pleasure from your garden and make some plans for next year
Once again, we’ve crept into autumn. We had some lovely sunny days in September but the temperatures are dropping now and the days are noticeably shorter. It’s not a time to be downhearted, though, because autumn is a wonderful season to be out in your garden.
First of all, there are the colours. Yes, summer borders are lovely but the colours of autumn are hard to beat, not least because they cheer us up just when we need it and they’re available for all to enjoy. If you don’t have trees in your own garden, you can still appreciate the amazing autumn colours around your neighbourhood and at the roadside as you’re out and about.
October is a great month to start planning next year’s garden and for getting new plants into the ground. Autumn is nature’s perfect time for planting, so if there is anything you want to add to your garden, now is the time. The soil is still warm from the summer and plants will have time to establish themselves before the cold of winter sets in.
Changing and adding to the garden doesn’t have to mean bringing in new plants as many of your perennials can be split and used elsewhere. However, finding a new gem to add to the border is half the fun of gardening and, with this in mind, you should leave some room in your plans for new additions. There is a wealth of choice at the Garden Centre.
Certainly, it’s the traditional time for planting fruit trees and bushes, which have gained in popularity in recent years. Still, some gardeners are a bit intimidated by fruit trees and pollination, but there’s no need to be. Many fruit trees require a second tree to cross pollinate in order to set fruit. Some self-fertile varieties are available but, if your heart is set on a variety that isn’t self fertile, then you may need a second tree. I say may because, in urban areas, there are usually trees close enough to provide pollen. If you are in any doubt, or you need help in choosing your trees, your local garden centre or nursery will be able to advise you.
If you feel your garden lacks autumn colour then there are lots of plants to choose from to brighten things up. Berried plants are the real stars of autumn. Pyracantha, Gaultheria, Skimmia and Callicarpa are all looking good at the moment, with their brightly coloured berries adding a lovely seasonal touch.
In terms of routine jobs, many perennials can now be cut back to keep the garden tidy and, of course, it’s time to get spring bulbs in the ground to ensure a colourful display for next year. Planting your bulbs at this time allows you to see where existing perennials are, enabling you to plant conveniently around them. Leaving planting much later can make things a little tricky, as perennials slowly die back to nothing and even the keenest gardener can sometimes forget exactly where they are! It’s generally recommended to plant bulbs in groups of 3 or 5 to ensure maximum effect when they come into bloom.
Even if you have a very small garden or you’re limited to just a patio or balcony, you can still add colour by filling pots with pretty, seasonal plants such as Cyclamen, along with bright evergreens and berried plants. Small standard topiary trees also look fabulous in pots and add a touch of style to your front door or patio.