Welcome back to the topical tips, we’ve had a little break, I think gardens and gardening has helped us through these difficult times. If you’ve spent more time in the garden this year, I’m sure all that work has paid dividends are your garden is looking lovely!
Now the Autumn is here it’s getting a bit cooler and a bit wetter, time to start a few jobs in the garden…
Jobs you really need to do!
Keep deadheading, it does make a difference!
Clear leaves, the simplest method of clearing leaves off the lawn is to run over them with a lawn mower, the cutting action of the mower blades will help to shred the leaves and make them quicker to rot down if placed on a compost heap.
Collect leaves this way once a week - any longer and the grass will start to grow long and get harder to cut.
For clearing patios, paths and other surfaces, a leaf blower is a better bet. Either blow the leaves onto the lawn for the mower to pick up or blast them on to a tarpaulin and drag them to the compost heap. We have leaf blowers in stock from £49.99.
Cut back perennials that have died down, remove and compost bedding plants that have past their best. Although we’ve just told you to cut down your perennials down feel free to ignore this if you like their seed heads or just want to keep a few beautiful stems that look stunning when frosted.
October is the month to choose and plant your spring flowering bulbs. We have a whole room dedicated to bulbs that is carefully tended and curated by Fiona (it has won the best bulb area display in the UK for the last 3 years), do come in and have a chat with her, she really knows her onions (and daffodils and tulips). Try to plant your bulbs soon as they can start establishing a root system and will reward you with a stunning display in the spring. When planting a rule of thumb is to plant 2-3 times their own depth e.g. a bulb 2” high should be planted 4-6” deep.
If you've got tender plants, such as canna, now's the time to bring them indoors before they get killed by the frost. Choose a light, frost-free place such as a greenhouse or cold frame. Then keep them on the dry side during the winter, so they don't put on much growth. The plants can then be brought back into growth in spring by increasing the amount of water they receive.
If you have any fruit left just pick them and put them on a sunny window cill near a banana to let them ripen, the banana emits a gas that promotes ripening.
Things that are good to do this month
It’s worth lifting begonia tubers to protect them from the cold weather but in a sheltered London garden it’s worth risking leaving the gladioli bulbs and Dahlia tubers in situ as they are a little bit hardier, cover them with a few inches of mulch for some extra insulation.
Transplant deciduous shrubs if you’re not happy with their position, waiting first for the leaves to fall.
Don’t forget to turn your compost, this will allow air into the compost and speed up the rotting process. We have a great device for turning compost that looks like a giant cork screw; the Burgon and Ball compost aerator. (£19.99)
Don’t go on a bear hunt, go on a snail hunt on a damp evening to reduce your snail population!
Cut down Buddleia, Lavatera and other quick growing shrubs by one third to reduce wind damage. Also cut roses back by one third to prevent wind rock damage. The main prune will be in early spring.
Plant prepared Hyaccynths to flower before Christmas.
It’s probably time for the last cut of the season so raise the mower a couple of notches and give it the last cut. Give the lawn a feed with Autumn Lawn food 2 in 1 which will prepare the lawn for the winter and kill any moss that maybe present.
Try not to leave any leaves on the lawn as they can reduce the light falling on the lawn can cause it to go yellow. The easy way to pick them up is to run over the fallen leaves with the lawn mower which will also shred them ready for composting.
Aerate compacted soil – especially clay soil – with a garden fork or a hollow-tine aerator or shoes that have spikes on them; keep fit whilst aerating the lawn. It’s best to aerate when the soils is damp.
Repair bare patches with Patch Magic, it guaranteed to work, simply sprinkle on and water, grass will begin to grow within 10 days.
Grow Your Own
Sow winter salads such as lettuce, Pak choi etc.
Take cuttings of shrubby herbs such as rosemary and thyme to increase your stock.
Plant garlic and onion sets now ready to harvest next summer.
Sow Aquadulce broad beans now to produce beans next spring.
Go Peat Free at Sunshine
We are lucky to be in a green business; we always encourage the use of environmentally friendly techniques and products.
Peat bogs are important, In the UK they are referred to as our rainforests. This is because of the delicate nature of their composition, but crucially because they absorb, and store, carbon. It is estimated they store a combined 500 metric gigatons of carbon (which is a LOT!).
As if this isn’t reason enough, peat bogs provide an important habitat for the plants, insects and wildlife which live there.
We have always encouraged the use of peat free composts and recently we have added yet another range of peat free compost; Dalefoot composts.
Read what they have to say:
“Potash rich bracken forms the base for all our composts. We blend Herdwick Sheep's wool into all our Wool Composts for improved water retention and slow release nitrogen. Our composts are approved for ORGANIC growing, are completely PEAT FREE and are not made from green waste. We only use 100% natural ingredients from the fells surrounding our farm in the Lake District.”
The compost is a little more expensive than the peat based alternatives but you can use less fertiliser as there is as much as 2 years feed already in the compost.