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Welcome Autumn

Posted on 28th September, 2021

This last month has really shown we're moving into Autumn now. Though we have some beautiful warm days still, the evenings and mornings are getting colder, and it seems to be a final push on getting the last flowers out of the Summer bedding while lovely Autumnal plants like Echinacea, Chrysanthemum and Aster are coming through, which will give zingy colours for the next few weeks.

 

Echinacea

 

These can be lifted and the clumps split, once they've flowered, and put in other parts of the garden.

 

Dahlia and Canna will still give flower and structure in a garden through to the first frosts, but I would recommend lifting the tubers once the frosts have hit, because you get a better start on them for next year. Once lifted, shake off as much soil as you can, then store upside down to dry. Pack in a box and cover with dry compost and store in a dry, frost-free space til March. Or you can cover with a thick layer of mulch and hope we don't get a very wet winter, in which case, they can rot in a poorly drained soil.
 
Which leads me nicely to mulch! At this time of year, the one thing we have huge amounts of are leaves. If these can be collected and bagged, and left for six months, the ensuing leaf mould makes a fab mulch. Applied as a thick layer to your borders, this will suppress annual weeds and breaks up awful soils when dug in.
 
Roses need to be cut back to half, and any shoots that are weak and spindly, or growing into the middle of the shrub need to be removed. Be brave! Autumn winds will unsettle roses, leading to Wind Rock which can destabilise the plant. If you continue spraying with an anti-fungicide treatment throughout winter, and clear any affected leaves, it should help any outbreaks of blackspot next year. I use Sulphur Rose, because it doesn't affect pollinators. And we love our bees!
 
This month is the month I plant tulips! My favourite last year was Yellow Valery, a frilled vibrant yellow and looking to pair this with a tangerine colour called Shogun this year. Looking forward to Spring already.
 
TulipsShogun
 
The last of the annual seeds can be collected and stored in envelopes. And labelled! My absolute downfall..
 
And in the veg patch, garlic and onion sets can be planted and you can get a great start on next year by planting broad beans, Aquadulce Claudia is a very reliable Autumn-sown variety which produces long pods of white beans. 
 
Clear any areas and sow green manures such as Alfalfa. These will grow over the next two-three months and can be dug into the soil to increase nitrogen in the soil, which is an essential for all plants!
 
Happy Autumn gardening!
 

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