Welcome back for another instalment of our autumn gardening guide. You’ll find everything you need to keep your garden space winter-ready. So don’t let spring and summer take all the gardening glory, enjoy colour all year-round.
- Fix grease bands around apple and pear trees to help control winter moth caterpillars, earwigs and other pests. If trees are staked, you’ll need to put a band around the stake as well.
- Rake up fallen leaves from lawns, borders and paths, and add leaves in layers to the compost heap or make leaf mould.
- Plant winter and spring-flowering heathers. Erica carnea and erica darleyensis varieties can be grown in alkaline soils, and will flower from late January until April.
- Dig over all vacant areas of the vegetable plot, removing any perennial weeds and plant debris. This will help to reduce the spread of any over-wintering pest and diseases.
- Prune your climbing roses now. First remove all dead, diseased, dying and weak shoots, then prune any flowered side-shoots back by two thirds of their length, and feed with rose fertilizer at the recommended rate.
- Plant new fruit trees and bushes – bare-rooted and container-grown choices are now available, and you can choose from trees on dwarf, medium and tall growing rootstocks. For more information, ask at your local stockist or garden centre.
- Insulate greenhouses with bubble wrap plastic from now on, and check that heaters and thermostats work properly before any long spells of cold weather. All these measures will help to reduce heating bills.
- Raise all patio pots and containers onto bricks or purpose-made pot feet to prevent them from sitting in water during the winter.
- There’s still time to plant over-wintering onions, shallots and garlic. Once planted, they will require very little attention.
- Regularly clean and refill all bird feeders and bird baths. Clean out any bird boxes that were used in the spring, ready for next year.
- Plant new crowns of rhubarb. Spring and autumn varieties are available, and both should be planted into well-prepared soil, with some bone-meal or organic matter incorporated.
- Container-grown and bare-rooted roses can now be planted. If you’re planting near or where a rose has grown before, add ‘Root Grow’ mycorrhizal fungi into the planting hole to help prevent rose replant disease.
- Lift and divide any poorly-flowering or overcrowded herbaceous plants, and replant them in well-prepared soil with added compost and fertilizer.
- Plant evergreen, flowering, coloured-stemmed and berrying shrubs for winter interest – there’s a wide range available now.
Make sure to visit our outdoor plant departments for a wealth of plant inspiration this October, and we’ll be back again in November for more tips to get the best from you outdoor space.