Autumn is upon us, the evenings are gradually drawing in and winter is fast approaching. So what can garden owners look forward to in the autumn? This is the time for trees and hedging; fruit trees and fruit bushes; roses and bulbs; and garlic.
Hertiage Orchard Days
On 26th/27th September and 17th/18th October Brogdale Collections is holding Heritage Orchard Days. Visitors will be able to enjoy orchard walks, fruit displays, juice tastings, a family apple trail, cider sales and more. With very few events taking place at the moment, these Orchard Days are a great opportunity to spend time outside with the family while enjoying some fresh Kent fruit. Visitors will also be helping raise essential funds to save these unique orchards. Visit www.brogdalecollections.org for more information and to book.
Make Leaf Mould
After gathering your fallen autumn leaves, don’t burn them or shove them in your green bin. Use them to make leaf mould, a fabulous free resource that will improve soil quality. Simply pack wet leaves into black bin bags together with a trowel of aren soil. Punch a few holes in the bags and leave them in an out-of-the-way corner of the garden. Your leaf mould will be ready in about 18 months.
Plant it Now
Now’s the time to get busy planting bulbs, but don’t limit yourself to the usual daffs, tulips and snowdrops – throw some alliums irises and crocuses into the mix. Grape hyacinths (Muscari) are an absolute
must-have. These feisty little gems aren’t picky about where you plant them and will provide vital nectar for early-flying bees.
Why not include small berrying plants in your garden this autumn? Try Skimmia Japonica with its unbeatable display of bright red berries in your pots and hanging baskets. Pyracantha is an ideal evergreen shrub to grow against a wall or fence. It provides a valuable nesting site for birds and has flowers that attract bees. Cotoneaster horizontalis makes an excellent choice if you need to cover a border and blackbirds, thrushes and waxwings will love the berries.
Sweet Pea Top Tips
For the very finest sweet pea blooms for cut flowers, always sow in the autumn. Here are top tips for the best display possible.
- For bigger, better plants sow six seeds to a one litre pot or use deep root trainers.
- Don’t soak seeds; leave them on damp kitchen paper overnight, then nick any that have not swelled.
- If you want sweet peas in pots, grow old-fashioned or semi-dwarf varieties in as big a pot as possible. Feed well with seaweed or tomato fertiliser.
- Sweet peas like plenty of root room, moisture and a sunny spot.
- Keep picking; as soon as seeds are produced they will stop flowering.
What to do now
- Pick apples frequently before they become damaged so they won’t deteriorate in storage.
- Revamp your bedding. Remove tired summer flowers, then plant new frost-tolerant ones.
- Continue planting out spring bulbs, such as daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses.
- Make leaf mould.
- Harvest cabbages.
- Plant lettuces in a cool greenhouse for daily salads this winter.
- Collect and store seeds somewhere cool and dry until next spring.
Feed the Birds
Feeding the birds in autumn is all about helping them through the moult and preparing them for cold winter months. With clever garden planting and a reliable supply of food in bird feeders, your garden birds will thrive through the autumn and beyond.