The autumn gardening guide
The autumn is a relatively quiet time in the ornamental garden. Garden tasks can feel like cleaning up after the party. But our gardener’s calendar will help you to make the most of the last warm days of the year.
Laying down the lawn
September is the best time of year for laying new turf. This can be big job, so it’s best to plan ahead and make sure you have everything ready before you start. If you’ve missed the September-October window, don’t worry. March is also a good time of year to lay turf.
By October, leaves will have begun to fall in earnest. It might feel like a never-ending task, but you should rake leaves from lawns and ponds to keep them healthy. On the plus side, anything you collect can be composted and turned into leaf mulch. Prevent ponds from being clogged by leaves by covering them with netting. Late autumn is also the best time to remove silt and accumulated debris from older ponds, stopping them turning into a swampy bog.
Next year’s colour
Autumn is the perfect time to plant spring bulbs, ensuring next year begins with an explosion of colour. Tulips are a classic choice, as are daffodils, crocus and snowdrops. Fritillaria, pushkinnia and camassia are a few slightly more unusual but beautiful choices. From November through to March, you can also plant larger, structural plants such as trees, shrubs and rose bushes. So if you dream of spring days full of cherry blossom or magnolia, this is the time to make that happen.
Late autumn is also the time to start feeding trees and shrubs. Feeding now will keep trees healthy and help them to produce a bumper crop of blossom and fruit next year.
Sow what you reap
Once summer is over and flowering has finished, many plants will be producing seeds. Collect seeds from any of your favourite plants in autumn, ready to grow them afresh in spring and start the whole cycle again.