Preparing your garden for Autumn
The beautiful colours of Autumn are now all around us. It is time to pick up and pack up your garden before winter arrives.
Insulating With Leaves
Fallen leaves can provide effective insulation and protection from frost. Instead of throwing your leaves out - rake them up and cover the bottom of your plants. Even better than that, the leaves will rot down adding nutrients and structure to your soil, Isn't nature clever! If you have large borders and not enough leaves spread a thick layer of compost, bark chips or well–rotted manure. Don't worry about digging it in – let the worms do the hard work for you.
Out With The Old
Now is the time to remove your annuals and throw them away. Some plants can cope with the cold whilst others perish. Check which plants should be pruned or brought indoors before the cold comes. Cut back faded perennials to 5 cm above ground level, but don't be too tidy – attractive seed heads are great for insects, look wonderful covered in autumn dew, and provide handsome winter silhouettes.
Add A Splash Of Colour
If you have some bare patches after clearing out your annuals, fill them up with some beautiful plants such as chrysanthemums, violas, osmanthus or winter heather. To ensure a vibrant display next spring plant your beds with pansies, bellis daisies and wallflowers.
Clean Your Greenhouse
Before the dark afternoons draw in use this time to clean up your greenhouse. Clear out plants debris and any broken pots. Clean any remaining pots ready for next Spring. Disinfect paths and the inside of the glass - a hot disinfectant solution will help prevent pests and fungus. Ventilate your greenhouse for a few days to dry it out thoroughly. Clean any leaves from the outside and the gutters. Give the outside glass a good clean too - this will help the sun come through and warm any winter crops.
Caring For Your Lawn
Rake up thatch and moss - you can add it to your compost pile if you have one. If you have an excessive amount of moss you may want to use a moss killer. Depending upon the wear and tear that the lawn has received over the previous months you may want to over-seed the lawn in early autumn. Afterwards, brush in a layer of sandy top-dressing , followed by an application of autumn lawn feed to prepare your lawn for the cold winter months.
Improve drainage and aeration around paths and play areas by making deep holes with the prongs of a garden fork at 10 cm intervals. Autumn is an ideal time to lay new turf too, giving it plenty of time to establish before next summer.
Clean Up Your Tools
Before packing your tools away for winter it is worth giving everything a good service and clean. You can get your lawn mower professionally serviced giving you peace of mind it will be ready to go next season. Check whether secateurs, hedge clippers and lawnmower blades need sharpening. The sharper the equipment, the less damage it causes to the plants. Also clean garden tools and leave them to dry thoroughly. Wooden handles stay looking good if you rub them with oil. Sand off any patches of rust, and grease metal parts. Finally, empty the garden hose and leave all the fittings to soak in diluted vinegar overnight. Leave to dry thoroughly, and then that can be put away for winter as well.