Get the garden ready for winter

Caroline Cassidy

Autumn is already here and it won't be long before winter rears its chilly head again, but there is still plenty to keep you busy in the garden at this time of year.

autumn gardening tips
autumn gardening tips

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When autumn arrives you should be thinking of planting spring bulbs, like daffodils, tulips, and new perennials. Although the temperature may be dropping there is still time for new plants to get established before the real cold sets in. If you want to move any shrubs or trees then this is the time to do it.

It's time to remove plant debris and diseased leaves from your flowers and vegetables. Get rid of yellowing foliage and any deadwood from plants. Perennials can be cut back if you like things neat and tidy, but it's an idea to leave a few seed heads for the birds to feed on when the weather turns cold.

Remember though that if you do remove seed heads or remove weeds with seeds, it's best to bin them rather than use them to make compost, as any left lying around will quickly reappear come spring.

Continue to water plants such as roses, shrubs and trees, particularly evergreens. Because they don't lose their leaves in winter they need a healthy store of moisture to keep them happy.

Autumn is a great time to give your lawn a little love too. Be sure to rake up all the dead leaves as these will damage your lawn. October of early November is the best time to weed-kill your lawn, but an autumn feed will also ensure your grass is robust enough to cope with the cold and frost. You can keep mowing the lawn but be careful not to do it too regularly.

This is also a good time to start making compost for the next year. Place cuttings in a compost bin and turn it over regularly in the autumn and winter months. It is also a really good time to turn your compost heap if you have one. It will heat up and then gently rot over winter period.

Most gardeners will also spare a thought for wildlife as winter approaches. Ensure any garden ponds are in good condition by covering with a net to prevent falling leaves from poisoning the water, particularly if you have fish. But be careful if you plan on clearing out your pond, as frogs can often be found hibernating in the silt at the bottom.

And last but not least, as the gardening jobs begin to dwindle, get those tools in good condition, oiling, sharpening and repairing so that you're ready for next spring.