I’m not sure where the year has gone – it seems like only yesterday that we were in the height of summer, but now the evenings are dark and this week I saw the first frost of the season on the ground.
The Autumn months are a great time of year for taking stock of what needs done in the garden. Now the growing season has come to an end, I like to use this time to have a good look around and see what needs done.
For example, now is an ideal time to prune and renovate many deciduous trees, shrubs and hedges such as Cornus, Spiarea and Beech. Shrubs normally pruned hard in the spring – such as Buddleja davidii can be cut back by half now, to prevent wind damage and neaten up their appearance.
Lightly prune bush roses, but don’t take these back hard – reducing their height will prevent wind-rock, but wait until the spring to prune fully. Climbing roses can be cut back hard now – remove any cross cutting stems or growth facing out or downwards. November is around the latest time you can prune climbing roses to enable them to survive the hard frosts of winter.
Another good job for this time of year is cutting down and removing spent herbaceous perennials, such as hostas, geraniums and ladies mantle. Most ornamental grasses and bamboos can be cut back and tidied up at this time of year, too.
Don’t forget to lift and store any tender plants such as dahlias, cannas and tuberous bedding begonias before we are hit by hard frosts. And apply autumn mulch to protect plants that are borderline hardy such as Agapanthus.
And if you thought weeding was over, think again. Now can be a good time to dig up perennial weeds with long tap roots, such as dandelions and mares tail. Ensure that the leaves are moved off your lawn to prevent damage to the grass.
Most importantly, wrap up warm, get outside and enjoy your outdoor space!