Gardening in autumn is so rewarding and so it’s time to get busy and get your garden into shape. 

It’s time to tidy borders. Dig up summer annuals and replace with spring bulbs and hardy bedding plants such as pansies, violas and wallflowers. Prune late summer flowering shrubs and perennials, cut back roses, but only to tidy them. Hard pruning needs to wait until the spring. Dahlias and Begonias will bloom right until the first frost, but then the tubers and corms need to be lifted, dried and stored in a cool, but frost-free place. 

Remember autumn is natures best time for planting new roses, shrubs and trees, roots get well established while the soil is warm. Add extra bone meal as this encourages good healthy growth.

Re-plant patio pots and hanging baskets with bulbs, primroses, pansies, also winter flowering heathers and hardy cyclamen to give a cheerful display of colour right through the winter into the spring. 

Lawn care is important and if you hanker for a lush green healthy look next spring, act now! Raking or scarifying the lawn clears away plant debris, such as dead stems and moss. Spiking, called aerating the lawn, helps against water logging; use a garden fork to make 3” deep holes across the lawn. Then boost growth with autumn fertilizer with added moss killer if necessary. 

Bare patches can be over-seeded in the autumn, apply seed evenly and rake into the soil surface, water well. Turf can also be laid now for a new lawn. 

Keep harvesting the last of the runner beans and courgettes. Also lift potatoes and other root vegetables for storage. Dig over vegetable gardens and plant autumn onion sets, and garlic. Try a few early plantings of broad beans and peas, they may work and give an early spring crop. Choose a spot fairly sheltered from cold winds. Winter salad crops are becoming popular, plant them outside of October/ November. Remember to take precautions against slugs and birds. A covering of fleece protects from hard frosts. 

A good clean up of the greenhouse is in order. Pick the last of the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers etc. Save cuttings of Geraniums, Osteospernums, Fuchsias and other favourite tender plants. Sow extra seeds of perennials and pansies for the spring. 

Plant bulbs for spring colour. These can be added to tubs and baskets or in borders. Early flowering bulbs bring the first sign of spring. Some favourites to plant now include snowdrops, crocus and daffodils. The bright colours of tulips can be planted until November. 

Make a visit to your local garden centre if you need extra help and advice. 

Happy gardening! 

Colin Clarke
Author: Colin Clarke