A to-the-point list of activities to prepare your garden for winter and the plants for spring. We're talking about pruning, feeding and general care. Plant, sow, reproduce covers planting.
Remember Wild about Weeds can help you with any of these tasks.
Prune and trim
Prune shrubs that have finished flowering. Eg hebes, rosemary, manuka, grapes, hydrangeas, lavender, grevilleas, fuchsia. Many of these grow leggy and the lower leaves die. Pruning encourages new growth.
Give hedges a final trim before winter. Remember to leave the bottom wider than the top to prevent bottom branches dying off.
Cut perennials, eg herbs, back to encourage new growth. Poke a few short cuttings in the soil to grow new ones.
Feed your hard working plants
Spread a quality general organic fertiliser around plants’ dripline as per packet instructions. Water it in before mulching. No need to fertilise plants that don’t like fertiliser. Eg proteas, leucadendron.
Spray plants with neem or other organic pesticide. For deciduous plants after leaves drop is a good time to fully spray plants to deal to any overwintering fungi and other pests lurking in nooks and crannies.
Mulch or compost plants inc shrubs and trees. This will reduce weeds, improve soil structure and break down into nutrients for the plants. Sow green manure seeds in bare areas.
Don’t waste fallen leaves and prunings. If they’re not diseased use as mulch or put them in your compost. It's all goodness for the soil.
Keep weeding. If you don’t have much time, at least remove flowers and seed heads to reduce spread.
Cooler wet weather brings slugs and snails to deal with.
With more rain and less heat, but enough to keep the garden happy, autumn is a great time to plant, sow seeds , take cuttings or split perennials.
If you have a wood burner or a firepit, you could plant trees to coppice and supplement your delivered firewood.
Otherwise plant trees and shrubs for shelter, privacy, to bring wildlife into your garden.
If you’re after spring flowering bulbs, get them in now. We’re talking anemones, bluebells daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, snowdrops.
Sow seeds for winter flowers, such as calendula, pansies, wallflowers, cornflowers. Primulas, polyanthus, cineraria will flower in shade if you have a spot for them.
Sow direct until May: cosmos, cornflower, nigella, poppies, sunflowers and sweetpeas. For sweetpeas, chill seed first to give germination a head start. Once growing, pinch heads off to encourage strong side shoots.
For fresh winter veges sow broccoli, broad beans, cabbage, cauliflower, peas. Or give microgreens a go if you’re short of space and not so patient.
Propagate woody cuttings like berries, grapes, hydrangeas, currants and roses. See Grow your own free plants
For free plants, divide your perennials such as grasses, irises, sorrel, day lilies, hellebores, hostas, heucheras, achillea. Get more bang for your buck and a better show by grouping them.
Cover bare areas
Finally, if you have any bare areas, sow green mulch such as Kings Green Mulch mix. This helps reduce weeds, then you chop it down before it seeds and use it for mulch. Win-win.
Autumn is the best time to take plant cuttings and grow some more
This works for many plants you’re likely to have, eg fuchsias, hebes, hydrangeas, lavender, rosemary, succulents.
My method is a bit of a shortcut as I put cuttings straight in the ground and leave it to mother nature.
Here's what I do: