For many, autumn is a glorious season where favourite jumpers are dug out from the bottom of wardrobes, and rosy cheeks are earned from cold, crispy country walks.
And whie s[ring time in the garden is one which offers renewal and promise, by the time you get to autumn, it is time to close the garden down and turn your thoughts towards drawing up the drawbridge and counting the days to Christmas.
There are quite a few jobs that need to be done in the garden to make it as winter friendly as possible. We have highlighted the key jobs here, which will preserve your garden’s nutrients, bed it down for the colder months, and ensure it is regeneration ready as soon as spring is once again upon us.
Clean up any debris
You’ve probably noticed that your lawn is beginning to look messier and messier, as leaves and twigs drop from the trees. It is important to clear as much of this debris up as possible. If left to rot over the winter months, it could cause diseases and encourage pest infestations. Instead, gather up[ any fallen vegetation and pop it into the composter.
Even if you have artificial grass, it is important to look after your lawn over the winter. A slow release fertilizer for a natural lawn will promote root growth and overall health.
Plant spring time bulbs
Autumn is the time of year to plant spring bulbs such as tulips and daffodils. You do not need to be too regimental about it. Instead, go for a randomized approach, planting the bulbs in a haphazard way with no rhyme nor reason. And then forget about them. Don’t mark them or leave any tags.
Come next spring you’ll wake up one morning to a glorious display of spring blooms that you will have completely forgotten about. Bulbs have a habit of coming back year after year, so make sure that you keep adding to them every autumn to make sure that spring is truly celebrated in abundant style.
Prune your perennials
Autumn is the best time of year to cut back on the perennials in the garden. All the old and brown foliage can be cut right back. Don’t be afraid to be quite ruthless – you perennial may end up looking naked and barren, but a good prune prepares the way for healthy regrowth come the spring time.
Prepare vegetable beds against frost
If there are any more vegetables remaining in your vegetable patch, dig them up, and dig over the earth and apply nutrient feed to prepare them for the year ahead. If you do have some winter growing vegetables, make sure you cover them with frames to protect them against frost damage and harmful weather.
Take care of your tools and furniture
Chances are you have invested heavily in some lovely garden furniture and quality garden tools. You want to protect this investment by remembering to put everything away into storage before the worst of the winter shows its face.
Much garden furniture is designed to cope with all weathers. But this does not mean to say that you should leave it to succumb to winter squalls. A small amount of time spent at the end of the summer taking time to cover up and protect this furniture could extend its shelf life for many more years.
You can either cover it with large tarpaulins, or move it into an inside sheltered space where it is fully protected against the elements.
Clean any lingering muck and debris off your garden tools and dry them off before putting them away.
Stock up on blankets
This is for your more delicate bedding plants, rather than yourself (though if it gives you peace. When you know a frost is coming, you can cover more vulnerable plants with the blankets to protect them against the frost. When the danger has passed, remember to remove the blankets so that they plants can rejuvenate in the sunlight.
Mulch your flower beds
Biodegradable mulches can be layered onto flower beds to help conserve moisture, regulate soil temperature and suppress weed growth. You can make your own mulch by using waste and debris such as wood, bark, grass clippings, pine needles, leaves, paper and carboard, which is put into the composter.
Not only does the mulch help your soils to retain essential nutrients during the harsher winter months, it will also help you garden to look a lot neater. And indeed, by preventing weed growth you are saved hours worth of additional weeding both during the winter, and as spring starts to hit again.
The more you can put your garden to ‘bed’ in the autumn the more it will preserve itself during the winter, and be ready and receptive to new planting come the spring weather.