The Village Gardener – Autumn

Autumn. The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…

The time of year we typically all turn our thoughts to Halloween, Log fires, Christmas and hunkering down for the winter.

With our love of outdoor living born out of lazy days in far flung climes, us Brits want to spend more and more of our precious down time enjoying the garden.

Gone are days of “putting the garden to bed” in early Autumn and forgetting about it until Spring. Modern gardens and outdoor spaces need to be a useable feature of the home all year round. A few easy steps will keep your outside space fresh with Winter interest as we all await with bated breath the next chapter in the seasonal story.

To keep your lawn fresh and healthy through the winter and into Spring now is the time to give it a good autumn feed. Available from most good Garden Centres, this high Potash feed will help protect the lawn from damage caused by the cold and Winter born diseases. Don’t be tempted to use the Summer feed, this is high in nitrogen and will only encourage growth when you don’t need it and so weaken the plant.

Give the lawn a good scarify to remove any old dead debris and moss. Scarifiers are easily found in the hire shops but for small lawns a good Spring rake will do the job. Aeration and top dressing are also useful jobs to be getting on with at this time of year, especially if your grass is looking tired.

Any one of these jobs will help, don’t feel you need to do everything, have a look, if it looks good and you’re happy, just pop the feed on to give it a helping hand through the Winter and so ensuring a good start in Spring. Keeping colour in the garden through the darker months is what we all aim for. Whilst flowers maybe at a minimum at this time, verdant shades of greens, yellows and browns can give us just as much joy.

Evergreens and Conifers have been much maligned over recent years, but strategically placed throughout the garden they can be a great addition to keep the eye interested. The list is endless but Skimmia, Holly, Bay, Choisya, Euonymus, Ceanothus, Rhodys and Azaleas to name but a few will all give great foliage colour with the beauty of flowers and scent later in the growing season from many.

Hedges of Buxus and Rosemary around borders and paths add structure and form to a garden all year. Box or Buxus also looks amazing as a stand-alone shrub, cut and trimmed into an endless array of designs and shapes whilst a Rosemary hedge delivers form, scent, flowers, and that all important kitchen essential.

Conifers in all their many forms have an equal importance in the garden. From Specimen trees to small shrubs there is a conifer for every occasion.

Fixed boundaries needn’t be boring either. String some wires through vine eyes and pop in an evergreen climbers. Clematis Armandii is a popular choice but there are many many more out there. Luscious foliage and heavenly scent, you’ll never have to look at a dull fence panel again (or paint it!!)

Pressure Washing is old news!! Moss and Algae can be removed easily from your patios and seating areas with a spray and walk away product and Many of them are organic such as Algon. Choose a dry day. Dilute, spray and walk away!! It really works and no more hassle with hoses, cables and bad backs.

Bringing the garden closer to home couldn’t be easier with the use of Pots and Planters. Any number of evergreen Plants, Shrubs and Trees can be popped into a container along with Violas or Pansy, Cyclamen and Primula along with a variegated ivy, grasses and a handful of spring bulbs to cheer us up on the dark Winters days and nights.

Light it up.

Christmas doesn’t have to be the only time we put lights in trees. There are a huge array of outdoor lights on the market for up lighting trees and shrubs or festooning around your seating areas, bringing the feeling of light and warmth into the garden, maybe tempting you out for just one more BBQ or even the Christmas Roast.

With Christmas just around the corner, with a snip here and a trim there, you really now can “deck the Halls with boughs of Holly” along with Rosemary and Thyme, sprigs of Spotted Laurel alongside Pine, Cedar, Juniper and Cupressus. The fruits of your garden now adorning your festive Yuletide home, in a perfect harmony. Nature’s true Festive decorations bringing colour, scent and hope.

Time now to sit back with a warming festive tipple, feet up, happy in knowledge that Spring is only just around the corner.