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Autumn in the garden
Autumn is the time to tidy up after summer growth and get the garden ready for winter. It's also a lovely time to admire the autumn foliage in temperate and cool climate zones where there are deciduous trees and plants. Some plants can be divided and planted at this time too.
Things to plant in the garden
- Plant bulbs that will flower in the spring. This includes tulips, freesias, daffodils, jonquils, etc.
- If you want to grow a lawn, this is a good time plant a new one, after the hot weather has passed for certain.
- Divide perennial plants if appropriate for that species. Plant the divisions in containers or different parts of the garden. Be sure that the plant shows new green shoots before attempting to divide it, and read up on the plant's actual preferred times for division. Some plants cannot be divided now, especially any that die back over winter.
- Divide strawberries. They can be replanted straight away but not necessarily in the same place unless you want more in that spot.
- Plant your temperate climate winter vegetables now. Clear the garden and make it ready for the colder months.
- Sow the seeds of hardy annuals where you'd like early flowers in spring. Biennials can be sown now too, to allow for an early spring display in 18 months time.
Things to tidy in the garden
- Cut back scraggly growth, dead leaves and anything that isn't helping the plants.
- Determine which plants didn't cope well during summer. Decide whether they can be helped or need replacing. For those that seem to do poorly summer after summer, replace them with drought-resistant plants.
- Fix up poor drainage in the garden. This will prevent those areas from turning into bogs over the winter.
- Clear leaves if they are a problem. Sometimes leaving them in place is part of nature's cycle, depending on what is growing underneath. Leaves can be used as mulch in other parts of the garden or piled up for making mulch or compost later.
- Tidy up the flowers; daisies can be deadheaded; iris foliage can be cut back to allow the sun to reach the centre; violets can be trimmed back and fertilised, etc.
Things to enjoy in the garden
- Observe the changing colours of the leaves.
- Do crafts based on autumn leaves, such as including them in collages or artwork.
- Paint or photograph the autumn colours.
- Sit in the garden and watch the birds, insects, reptiles and mammals getting ready for winter.
Other things to consider
- Check for insect infestations and deal with them as appropriate.
- Check existing feeding stations for animals and do any necessary repairs. Decide whether you'd like to add bird feeders, squirrel feeders, insect hotels, etc., to aid the local wildlife through he colder months. Now is a good time to set these up.