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Getting ready for autumn

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 09:00

October can still produce some days of balmy sun, along with misty mornings and gloomy skies – mind you, August seemed to provide us with a good amount of gloomy skies too!

But even if the good weather appears, it is never going to last. The leaves will start to fall and cover the garden, and the late flowering herbaceous perennials like the Asters and Japanese anemones will start to go over.

Rose hips stud the stems like fairy lights

Some roses will still produce the odd flower into winter and others will leave fat hips to stud the stems like fairy lights – there is more to the winter garden than just flowers. It is at this time of year that anything with berries on comes into its own, feeding the birds and adding interest to the garden.

Now is the best time to order bare-rooted roses from specialist suppliers, as you will have the greatest choice of varieties. Roses planted when bare-rooted are cheaper than pot grown ones and also, if planted correctly, establish themselves quicker.

Collect any leaves that are lying on the lawn, or smothering delicate plants, and make a leaf pile. Attach chicken wire to four corner posts with membrane on the bottom to stop the ivy taking over. The leaves can be run over with the lawnmower first to make them rot quicker or just left whole.

On the other hand, you could just put them into old compost bags with plenty of holes poked in them. Stack them somewhere out of the way and leave them for a year or more and you will be rewarded with some lovely leaf-mould to use in your compost or as a mulch around your woodland plants like hellebores or ferns.

Plant broad beans for an early crop next year. ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ is a very good variety to overwinter. Plant seeds 20cm apart and 5cm deep.
If you have an asparagus bed you will notice that the ferny foliage is going yellow and dying. Cut it down to 2.5cm above the ground and compost the old leaves.

Sow cabbages ready for spring

The second week of October is traditionally the sowing time for crops to grow on over winter under unheated glass using a cold-frame, cloche or, if you are lucky, a polytunnel. Something like the pointed ‘Hispi’ cabbage, which has an award of garden merit, is a good one that will be ready to crop around about Easter. Don’t sow too many as they need picking straight away when ready and will go over if left.

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