One of the joys of gardening is seeing the seasons change outside of our windows. The Autumn colours have been so bright this year and signal a slowing down in growth or the end of the life cycle for some of our plants. Winter beckons and there are some jobs we can do to prepare our gardens and ourselves for the winter ahead.
* Collecting those leaves from our lawns is very important to give them the fresh air they need to survive the winter. Raking is a great job to get your heart pumping and your arms working. My top tip: put them in a compost bin straight away or the wind will make your job take twice as long!
* You don’t need to be so tidy in your flowerbeds though. Clear the leaves from around plants but make piles of leaves in the back of beds for insects and small mammals to make into their winter home.
* If you had Summer bedding in pots this year it will be coming to the end of life. Try protecting Pelargoniums in your greenhouse or on a windowsill over the Winter ready for next year. They don’t always survive but if you have the room it’s worth the try.
* Used compost from pots can be put on your flowerbeds.
* Wash out the pots and store away, or
* Plant the pots with layers of bulbs like a trifle to bring colour from Winter through to Spring. Daffodils at the bottom, Tulips in the middle and Crocus in the top layer with Pansies or Cyclamen on the top.
* Clear your vegetable patch of any plants that have finished producing for you. Give it a weed and then cover with cardboard to protect the soil and as weed free as possible for the spring.
* You can still be planting in the vegetable garden in November though. You can get some Garlic and Broad Beans in the soil ready for next year and if you can protect the plants you can also plant Lettuce and Pak Choi for this year.
* Autumn is bulb planting time; there is a huge variety of types and colours, so choose what you like. Plant in groups of 3s and 5s to make it look as natural as possible but also groups have more impact. You can plant Snowdrops, Grape Hyacinth and Alliums for outside.
* Try forcing some bulbs early indoors. You can also start off Hyacinths, Daffodils and Amaryllis indoors and they make lovely Christmas presents.
So, although it might feel like the end of the year, in fact this time of year is one when nature is sowing the seeds in preparation for next year. We seem to have had a bumper crop of acorns this year. Why not try to germinate one and then watch it grow? I think all of us love to see a shoot emerging and then watching the roots and leaves appear.
Next month I’ll talk more about planning for 2021 and also give you some tips for ideal gifts for the gardeners in your life!
Renée is a local gardener and designer and you can find more about her work at: www.thegirlwhogadens.co.uk