Garden Tidy Time
Autumn is the season for tidying your garden, ready to keep it looking neat over the winter and giving you a head start in the spring.
There’s something very satisfying about undertaking tidying tasks. These are things you can do at times to suit you, such as when there’s a sunny autumn afternoon or you know there’s a dry, clement weekend ahead.
Collecting autumn leaves
It sometimes seems that as soon as you’ve swept up leaves, another load drops down! But if you regularly keep on top of leaf fall then it will be less of an onerous task than battling a huge number of leaves in one go. Create an area in your garden to collect the leaves – these will rot down to use as mulch. Dry, medium-sized deciduous leaves from oak, hazel and beech trees and apples trees are preferred by hedgehogs to use for their nests.
Smarten up your borders for the coming winter by tidying the edging and removing any dead growth or plants that have gone over. However, you may like to leave some of this for bugs over the winter. You can also spread compost over the soil in your borders to keep the roots of perennials and hardy plants insulated during the colder months.
When the weather is good, take the mower across your lawn for a final cut to keep it looking tidy for the colder months – it’s advisable to set the blades higher for this cut. This will help remove any excess fallen leaves that you haven’t raked up. Pay attention to the lawn around paths and your driveway to keep everything neat.
While you may still be picking certain crops, you’re likely to have plants that have gone over. Clear these away and remove any old labels, bamboo sticks or other supports that are no longer in use. You can cut any bean and pea plants down to ground level. Their nitrogen-fixing roots will supply feed for your future crops.
Check around your garden for anything that could do with a repair. Is your shed roof still sound and able to keep out the rain? Other garden features to check include raised beds which may have rotted wood or needs a new liner. Scrutinize your fence posts – if any are rotten then these will need replacing to make sure that your fence doesn’t get blown down in storms during the winter.
Hedges can really help to keep a garden looking tidy. If you’ve planned a new hedge now is a good time to plant deciduous hedging. You can also add herbaceous plants to give your garden an autumn boost. The soil is still warm from the summer and the autumn rain helps to create ideal planting conditions for hardier plants before the cold sets in.
You can use waste from your tidying activities to help make compost. Green nitrogen-rich waste Grass clippings, annual weeds and nettle leaves make great green nitrogen-rich waste, whilst prunings and hedge-trimmings contribute to your carbon-rich waste. You can find out more about composting and what you can – and can’t – add on our website.
Of course, as well as taking time to tidy your garden, on warm autumn afternoons there’s no reason why you shouldn’t sit outside and enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation too!