Autumn’s a time of garden planning

So, I think we can pretty much surmise from the blowing leaves and big black cloud hanging outside the window that summer’s said goodbye. She wasn’t lingering either; one day it was summer, the next she’d disappeared. But I like the change in seasons, the hint at what’s to come and excitement of where the coming months will lead.

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Get important autumn jobs done so you can plan to make next year’s garden even better

As all gardeners know, creating a beautiful oasis is often more to do with foreward planning than actually enjoying a space for what it is right now. Of course, it’s vital to actually get out and enjoy your garden, to take a seat and watch the world go by; after all, if we didn’t do this, would we want to garden at all? But, for the most part, the actually gardening aspect is about growing things for the season ahead, clearing the mess to make way for other plants and always having a slight eye on what’s ahead, whether it’s the coming weekend, the next month or even the following year.

With this in the back of my mind, I’m already planning for next year. I’ve popped in some California poppy and sweet pea seeds, I’ve turned the compost heap and a couple of winter pots are already planted up with violas and pansies so they can get a head start before the frosts begin (though, saying that London did not have ONE frost last year!) But, as many of you know, there’s more to it than that for me as, within the next year, I’ll moving. So, after over a decade here, I’ll be cutting, splitting, potting and shifting my beloved plants to a brand new space. As long as I find a house in the next 3/4 months, the time of year couldn’t be more perfect for moving plants. I’m clinging onto that fact. Though when I’ve got hundreds of plants in pots awaiting to their new home, I may wish I’d left everything behind! It’s not only your plants to think about either, because hard landscaping and, indeed, garden furniture, also needs thinking about at this time of year.

So, start planning ahead by:

  • Planting hardy annuals. Most annuals need to be planted out in spring, but there are some that can be started now. As long as they’re protected from frosts, they’ll get a head start on next year’s seedlings, giving you early flowers. I’ve got California poppies, sweet peas and hollyhocks germinating on pots outside. As the first frosts arrive, they’ll be moved to a cool and protected greenhouse until Spring 2015.
  • Planting your bulbs. It’s October, so the best season for planting bulbs is already over. However, the soil’s still relatively warm so you can still pop them in, but do so sooner rather than later. With the wetter winters we’ve been having lately, it’s a good idea to add a little well draining material to your holes to ensure brand new bulbs don’t rot.
  • Organising your borders. Soon, dormancy will come to most plants, with deciduous shrubs losing their leaves and herbaceous perennials dying away. Before this happens, make a note of where everything is so you can lift, split and replant when the weather’s cooled and plants have gone to sleep.
  • Treating yourself to something new. I know you’ll think I’m mad, but with summer now ended, there’s always some good bargains to be had for garden accessories and furniture. There’s also nothing quite like having something shiny and new to help wish away those winter months. If you’re looking for some beautiful outdoor rattan furniture, Garden Store Direct has some very reasonable sets. A treat now will make next summer even more enjoyable.
  • Turning your compost heap. Every garden should have a compost heap – really. Think how much waste you would’t have to throw out if you could put it on your compost and make BRAND NEW GORGEOUS SOIL! Now is one of the best times to turn you heap. A lot of people believe it’s an ideal job for winter, but this isn’t so if you want to protect wildlife. LOTS of creatures crawl into compost heaps to hibernate and protect themselves from the frosts. Turning it now not only allows you to mine that black gold to spread across borders and allow the cold weather to break it down, but means you won’t have to worry about accidentally killing a hibernating frog or two.

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Hi,

I'm Geoff, and I'm a plant hoarder.

Like magpies collect bright shiny things, I can't resist plants. An exquisite flower, soft ferny foliage or a beautiful majestic tree - I love them all!

Here, I'll indulge in all things flora and share my passion. Join me as I develop my garden and hoard more plants without apology.