The little patch of land out the back, is all ours. It’s our connection to nature, the natural light and the stars. And it’s with us all year round, bringing the changing seasons to our home. The days are noticeably shorter, but before you move indoors, consider how you can take your gardening further into Autumn by making the most of the precious late-season sunshine, and embracing the glow of gorgeous reds, russets and plums.
October is a lovely time to be out in the garden. The light is magical and presents an opportunity to clear up and plan for the year ahead under bright blue skies.
If you have little ones, consider giving them an area of the garden to make their own in which to grow their own choice of flowers for the Spring. Now’s the time to let them choose which ones! It’s a lovely way to nurture their interest and tempt them outside all year round to clear and tidy their spaces, and get their hands in the ground.
It may look like everything’s dead in a winter garden, except for the glow of autumn colours. But Winter’s when all the action goes underground in nurturing good root systems for the next growing season, which makes every Winter a new beginning.
There’s plenty of gardening advice about for September. But we’re talking about the mindset that keeps you out in the garden, rather than closed indoors—plus some inspo on how and where to start.
Your garden will soon turn darker and cooler, but this brings opportunities to build fires and wrap up and gather in blankets, under twinkly lights. Come on, coats on!
Eating outside in Autumn
To stay warm while creating a romantic setting, invest in a fire pit. You’ll always have a ready heat source for sitting around and cooking with, and it’ll create an attractive and cosy-ing focus in the garden. Some fire pits will hold a cooking pot, and baking potatoes and aubergines can be wrapped in tin foil and put directly in the flames. Even a barbecue can be used to supply sides of halloumi, veg or fish.
And er.. s’mores for dessert, anyone?
Bird feeders and baths for migrating birds and the species which stay home over the winter, creates a daytime focus for the garden and brings a beautiful liveliness to the space. Also, remember that hedgehogs will be looking for places to hibernate soon, so leave a few piles of leaves and wood for them to bed down.
Now’s when we can plant containers that’ll bring colour throughout the colder months. Evergreen shrubs, Hellebores and Skimmias, Cyclamen and winter flowering Violas make uplifting and colourful displays, that last until early spring.
And don’t forget grasses, they not only add colour but also texture, and work hard at bringing different elements together in a border or container.
Winter vegetables are some of the easiest to grow in the UK and require very little maintenance and watering. And if you plant them in early Autumn, you’ll be able to harvest them all winter. Homegrown Christmas veg anyone?
Plant leeks, onions, parsnips, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips, swedes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, beetroot, carrots and more. For best results plant while the garden is still warm so they get well established before the cold hits. But not everything likes a warm bed in Winter. Tulip bulbs should be planted in November once the soil temperature has cooled down.
Make the final mow a little longer on the grass to protect from frost, and use the leaves you gather and tidy, to protect your borders by composting them, along with fruit and veg waste. This ‘mulch’ will protect the roots from frost and improve the quality of the soil. It’s satisfying to create a simple system in your garden where waste matter like leaves, makes your plants stronger in the following season. And consider using a water butt, to save water for the coming seasons too.
Little and often
The secret to using your garden after the sun fades is getting into a daily habit. Perhaps go outside with your morning coffee and do a bit of deadheading as you ponder the day. Making the garden part of your daily routine will make you want to do it more and more.
Planting and growing near our home is surely the ultimate in bringing in the new season with a sense of hope and renewal.