Aiming at Autumn.

24 Sep

If you’re looking out at your garden and wondering what to do now everything is slowing down and dying back … Here’s a handy little Autumn ‘To Do List’:


Autumn is quite an important season in gardening as it serves as a good time to start prepping things for next year’s display.  Managing tasks is vital so that nothing gets missed and claimed by the cold onslaught Winter could bring. 


So with that in mind, here’s a little list of what we, at HSM, feel are essential things to do over the next couple of months. 



  • Remove old flowers and flowerless stems then cut down any Herbaceous plants that have gone over. Plants like Lavender, Rudbeckia, Cosmos and Echinops are all pretty finished by now and no-one reaaaaally likes seeing dead brown stems.  Purple is much better!  So snip off the dead and show off some more of that wonderful colour you still have in the garden! 


  • Blow leaves out from unwanted areas or, if you’re feeling particularly lazy, you can leave them on your borders to form a natural mulch layer and frost covering. Though remember to mark any plants with something so you still know where they are!



  • Plant spring bulbs in November for that early hit of colour next year. Daffodils, Alliums, Tulips … just to name a few.  Who doesn’t love spring bulbs?! 


  • Give hedges and shrubs a courtesy cut before the end of October. This is just to remove the leggy, new growth that they’ve put on in the last few weeks and make them all shapely and nice looking over Winter and early Spring.


  • Remove your Summer bedding plants and plant out your Autumn and Winter pots and containers.  While most plants shrink back for Winter and take a bit of a hiatus, Heathers, Cyclamen, Trailing Ivy, Polyanthus, Violas/Pansies, Solanum and Skimmas still look great through the colder months.


  • Remove Dahlia tubers from the ground.  Don’t throw them away though.  Give them a good clean with a bit of water and a tooth brush, making sure you get all the dirt off without scrubbing too harshly, and pack them away in newspaper or shredded hay in a dry place. Tubers don’t really like the constant wet and sogginess that Winter can bring and can easily rot.  We don’t want to lose these gorgeous plants!


  • Raise the height on your lawn mower and maybe even give your grass a courtesy feed and scarify. The higher cut, feed and scarifying will help your grass look greener and healthier over Winter. The perfect feed mix is higher in Phosphorus and Potassium, as those 2 ingredients will help keep the roots growing and the overall functions of the grass going strong over winter.  Be gentle with the scarifier, you want to barely tickle the soil.  If you go too deep then the frost can damage the roots and cause it to die off.


  • Keep an eye on those night time temperatures that’ll set in towards the end of August.  We’re barely into September and my car has already told me it’s a mere 7°c at 6:30 in the morning.  It won’t be long until we see 2’s and 3’s and that’s frost potential!  Cover the tops of Tree Ferns with either hay or hessian cloth.  Or if you have neither spare then use old bits of fern … like the hay, just lay it on top of the crown and tie down.  Another plant that doesn’t like the cold are Phorniums.  Snow and ice in their crowns can lead to an unhappy plant.  Use their leaves as a protective barrier, put 3 or 4 Bamboo canes evenly around the base and with some strong string start under the bottom leaves and slowly tie up the Phormium from bottom to top.  The leaves should form what I think looks like a Tipi.  Tie off the top and bam, you’re done!

  • Keep your maniac Wisteria trimmed back nicely so it’s easier to give it a nice hard prune in the Winter.  I’d be suprised if you haven’t noticed that Wisterias go a bit loopy this time of year and look really untidy.  Keeping them trimmed will keep them looking nice over the Autumn, and it also means its easier to see what you need to chop off when it’s time for a full prune to get it ready for next year! 


Gardening is an all year round job and hobby.  Don’t get put off by the blustery weather and rain that Autumn brings.  Put the work in over the next few months and you’ll soon notice the difference come Spring!

Some fun can still be had too!  I suggest you try ‘leaf angels’ … and anyone of any age can have fun throwing piles of leaves around!


Go out and enjoy the little things! 

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