I really love autumn, the lower temperatures, the colour in the leaves and drop in humidity takes away the stifling nature of a long hot summer. Being out in the garden is a joy in autumn and there are plenty of jobs that can be done.
I like to get on top of my hedging, starting with the taller hedges and working down to the smaller ones. By taking on the bigger ones first you have more energy so it’s safer and all the debris falls down to the un-cut hedges below, if you were to reverse this you would have clippings falling onto freshly cut smaller hedges and be doubling up on your clean up.
Pruning hedges in autumn is about maintaining a good shape rather than tackling a large reshaping project. If your hedges are all out of shape and need a hard cut back, save this until spring when they can fully recover over spring and summer.
I also get stuck into my lawn giving it a good autumn overhaul including aeration, soil wetter and fertilising. The aeration will help decompaction of the soil and give the roots free space to grow into – if you use a corer top dressing with coarse river sand will stop the holes from collapsing whilst maintaining the air pockets. The soil wetter will ensure water penetrates the ground evenly and therefore reaching the roots effectively. The fertiliser will help to feed this hungry garden plant and give it the nutrients to grow through winter and maintain as much green as possible when it really cools down.
Early Autumn is the last chance you’ll get to give your roses a feed as new growth too close to winter will just die back and cause damage when the cold really sets in. I apply Black Marvel rose and flower food in granular form but also in liquid form, so they get long lasting help from the granules and a quick boost for more instant effects from the liquid. Applying fertiliser now to your roses will also ensure they have plenty of stored energy over the winter for an incredible display in early Spring.
This theory also applies to your deciduous shrubs and trees, you want to be applying fertiliser just before the leaves have turned to their autumnal tones, so they absorb as much as possible ready for spring. An application of premium Blood and bone works well in conjunction with an all-purpose Liquid fertiliser applied to the leaves.
Fertilising now will also prep your perennial plants that you are looking at lifting and dividing in winter, making plants as robust as possible will only pay dividends when they get dug up, cut up and re planted.
You may or may not have your winter veggie seedlings in the ground already, things like leeks, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower can all be planted out now. If you need extra space using grow bags as well as your veggie patch is a great way to get some additional plants. I like to stage planting out my seedling every couple of weeks so I’m not faced with a glut come harvest time and growing on seedlings in a grow bag is a great way to do this.
Of course, autumn is the only time to collect fallen leaves, the easiest way to gather these up is with your lawn mower set on its highest setting. These can then be added to your compost, used directly on the garden as a mulch or turned into leaf mould.