Autumn is marching on, but there are still plenty of jobs for you to do in your garden or cut flower patch to ensure a long season of beautiful blooms next year.
It’s not too late to plant bulbs; alliums, narcissi, tulips, iris and more are all still available and will be perfectly fine going in over the next few weeks.
Planting out; the ground is still fairly warm and with plenty of rain it’s a good time to get new plants established. Hardy annuals may want some protection if they are small, so either plant out into the ground in a sheltered area, under cover such as a low tunnel or if you sowed late then pot up into larger pots and keep in a greenhouse or cold frame if you have one, or just a sheltered spot if not.
Sowing; it’s the perfect time to sow sweet peas and perennials such as echinacea and achillea, but watch out for the mice! We keep our extra tasty plants on benches with legs the mice can’t climb, or suspend trays from the top of the polytunnel!
Covering empty beds; have you removed annuals and been left with a bare area, or cleared out the veg patch? If so, make sure that you don’t leave the ground uncovered. Rain washes away nutrients and destroys the structure of the soil.
Clear out your covered spaces of plants and flowers which are passed their best or succumbing to disease. Covered space is precious and can be used to over-winter hardy annuals for an early display, or for tender plants you want to bring in from the garden.
Mulching trees and shrubs; young trees and shrubs, especially those planted in the lawn, really appreciate having an area clear of competition around the base. Firstly weed the area immediately around the trunk, then if you have any plain cardboard you can use this to cover a radius of 30cm (1’) or more around it, then cover with a thick layer of mulch. Our preferred mulch is woodchip. The cardboard prevents the grass growing up through the mulch and helps kill it off. Worms love it and as it is broken down it improves the soil structure in the root zone.
Order bare root plants - bare root is normally available from November - February or March (depending on the weather). Buying bare root will give you a wider selection of plants, particularly trees and shrubs, than you would get the rest of the year. It's also cheaper and the best time to move them as they are in their dormant period and can start to put out new roots without the stress of growing leaves and flowers. See my blog from Feb 2022 for more information about bare root planting.
If you want to learn more about creating your own cut flower garden then watch this space - we have some exciting new workshops being announced very soon!