Gardening: How to keep your garden going in autumn

Lost your gardening mojo as the weather turns cooler? Experts offer advice on how to keep the momentum going, writes Hannah Stephenson

Keep an eye on light levels in the darker winter months – some plants may need a bit more
Hannah Stephenson

TEMPERATURES may be falling but you can still be planting and tidying up to keep your garden looking great and attracting wildlife, says gardening expert Pippa Greenwood, a regular on BBC Gardeners’ Question Time.

But how do we stay inspired and continue to enjoy the benefits gardening can bring?

“If you’re new to something or haven’t got much experience, it can be a struggle to progress past that first burst of enthusiasm,” says Greenwood, who’s also horticulture manager of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA).

The HTA’s latest campaign, supported by Dobbies Garden Centres, aims to encourage new gardeners and provide them with a reliable, user-friendly information resource. Marcus Eyles of Dobbies has these tips…

Have a big garden tidy-up: “Autumn is the perfect time to tidy up your garden and indoor plants, prepare them for the colder weather and get your lawn and soil off to a head start for spring,” says Eyles.

Get your lawn ready for winter by raking away dead grass and leaves, then applying an autumn lawn care product.

Cut back perennials: If you haven’t yet done so, cut back perennials and border flowers that are past their best, pruning them back to the base or to any new shoots, and blitz weeds before winter sets in, he suggests.

Watch out for wildlife: “Our gardens provide important habitats for a number of garden wildlife, from birds to hedgehogs, to smaller insects like ladybirds and earthworms – which are a valuable fertiliser for soil” says Eyles. “Providing food and shelter is one of the easiest ways you can do your bit.”

Keep planting: With some careful planning your garden can be filled with colourful foliage all year round, from beautiful berries to vibrant stems. “Fill borders with dogwood and birch, or for a quick colour fix, brighten up your front door with a hanging basket or patio pot. Acers, cyclamen, pansies and ornamental grasses are all perfect for a fiery foliage display,” says Eyles.

Limited outside space? Grow herbs indoors… Perfect for garnishes or botanical cocktails, herbs are easy to grow inside. They simply need sunlight, regular watering and protection from the cold. Mix different colours, textures and flavours for a lovely windowsill display and plant in odd numbers, like threes or fives, to get a more natural look.

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