Just because it’s autumn it doesn’t mean the gardening has to stop. While it will be difficult to watch your beautiful summer garden lose some of its beauty, there is still so much you can get done. Your garden can still look amazing throughout autumn and you must remember that it is also a great time to prepare your garden for winter and spring.
There will be a lot of this..
…but also a great opportunity for this!
Essential Autumn Gardening Tools
● A soil knife
● Pruning shears
● Water hoses & water wands
● A shovel
● A hat
For more information on all the different tools you need have a quick read of this great article. It goes in to more detail on why all these tools are essential to complete your autumn gardening to-do list. You need to have all these tools ready to go as they will make it so much easier to get all the different jobs in your garden completed in an efficient manner.
Gardening Jobs to Get Done in Autumn
If your garden looks like this, it’s time to get to work!
Cut & clear your lawn
In winter, low temperatures and lack of sunshine can have a detrimental effect on your lawn – so your lawn needs some TLC before the real cold begins. Any leaves on the surface of the grass should be cleared as they will further restrict the amount of light your lawn gets during the shorter days. As a general rule, you should mow your lawn for the last time in early November.
Autumn is the perfect time for transplanting work because the soil will have enough moisture thanks to the regular showers. Keep in mind that the ground is still warm after the summer, so the plants will have plenty time to adjust and get used to their new position and will form new roots easily.
Cut back perennials, bushes & shrubs
It’s important that perennials are cut down as otherwise they may decay. it’s essential to avoid putting too much pressure on the plants to draw sap back to their roots. If your shrubs go yellow, it’s time to cut them, or they may decay over the autumn. Bushes and shrubs can generally be cut to about a quarter of their size.
Clear summer bedding
We know it’s difficult to clear all those beautiful annuals but autumn really is the perfect time to do it. Unlike perennials, annuals will not come back season after season, so leaving these in the ground is pointless. Pull everything up and add them to your compost pile!
Sort your hedges
Hedges are great at providing valuable wind breaks and offer fantastic privacy in our gardens. Hedges will last all year around but regular maintenance is still essential as they are renowned for being extremely demanding on soil nutrients. For example, evergreen hedges need cutting once a year and early autumn is a good time to get this done.
Any plants sensitive to frost need to be covered. You can try covering them with leaves but things like bubble wrap also work well. If you have any pot plants in your garden you need to take them indoors or put them in a sheltered position away from the elements.
This is a great one! Take all the fallen leaves and fruit in your garden and harvest the last of your vegetable crops. You can also start planting garlic gloves, cabbage for spring and broccoli in well prepared ground. Autumn is a great time for planting!
Container Planting: The Essentials
Container planting allows you to be creative in the garden for autumn and we are confident that when you get to work on one you’ll really enjoy the experience. Why not use the variety of colours in your autumn foliage as a palette for the containers?! Here are a few things you will need to keep in mind when container planting.
Buy strong containers
Make sure that whatever container you use can survive the harsh weather. Hopefully the weather won’t be too bad this autumn but be prepared just in case. Fibreglass, iron, strong plastic, or stone will all work great.
Think bright colours
They really do offer a fantastic opportunity to bring some life to the otherwise subdued landscape. Think about where to best place your containers because the surroundings play an important role in how impactful they are.
Certain areas of your garden will stand out more during the autumn as many of your plants will have lost their leaves. Go out to your garden and have a look at the areas that need colour – a container plant can sort that right out!
Generally, you select your plants as if you were preparing winter containers and the same rules apply as they would in winter. As a rule of thumb, your plants should be two zones colder than your garden.
You must choose plants to last throughout the season so pick ones that can survive many light frosts. For example, New Zealand flaxes can survive temperatures up to -3 °C. It really all depends on the type of weather we get in Ireland this autumn and it’s always best to have plants that can cope with the worst case weather scenarios.
Container Planting Inspiration
Check out this great video from world-renowned horticulturist Ian Cooke. It takes you through everything you need to know about container planting. Ian really is an expert so it’s well worth watching!
There’s some more great advice in this video about how you need to think in threes when you’re buying plants to fill your containers.
● Spiller- something that spills over the side of the container.
● Filler – something that fills the centre of the container.
● Thriller – something that brings the wow factor to your container plant.
We really like this article which goes in to great detail on all the different container plant options available to you. Check it out for some inspiration!
Remember not to limit yourself and you should really see container planting as an opportunity to be creative. People often forget that shrubs can be used in container plants as well. Check out the video below for more information on this.
Attracting Wildlife to your Garden in Autumn
If you want to attract wildlife to your garden you will need to do things a little differently!
Don’t disturb potential shelters
Animals like hedgehogs love finding places where they can shelter. Leaf piles and compost heaps make great homes for them so if you want to attract hedgehogs you can ignore our advice about clearing all the leaves from your garden! Maybe leave an area with leaves in the corner of your garden to make them feel welcome. We have worked on people’s homes who want to maintain certain parts of their garden so it will attract wildlife. It’s no problem at all for us and we think it adds a really nice touch to a garden.
Plant nectar-rich bulbs
To attract our pollinator friends, you will need to select your plants carefully. Think about which bulbs are rich in nectar. For example, crocuses and alliums are popular choices and they are great for attracting bees to your garden.
Grow wildlife-friendly plants
It’s great seeing birds in the garden and there are few little extra things you can do to make them feel at home. If you plant wildlife friendly trees like hawthorn, alder buckthorn and pussy willow you will have no problem attracting a variety of birds and other wildlife to your garden.
We hope you enjoy your garden this autumn and if you ever need some advice or a helping hand you can get in touch with us for a chat about all things gardening!