The autumn leaves haven’t really got going yet, but the first frosts have started to arrive around the country, so autumn is definitely here.
It’s time to get busy preparing your garden for spring before the days lose their warmth and the garden rests for winter.
For in-depth advice about what to do in your garden every month, try Which? Gardening magazine for only £5 – either online or by calling 029 2267 0000.
1. Tidy your patio
Your summer patio pots may still be flowering, but it’s time to empty them out, and plant them with bulbs and spring bedding, such as violas and pansies. Use a Best Buy compost for containers and mix in some controlled-release feed. Plant the bulbs deeply at about three times the height of the bulb. You can plant them in layers by putting compost on top of one layer of bulbs and then another layer of bulbs on top. Finish off with some spring bedding to give colour while the bulbs are growing. If squirrels are a problem in your area, cover the surface of the compost with chili flakes to deter them.
Clean your patio and paths with a Best Buy pressure washer.
2. Cut the lawn
On a dry day, give the lawn a trim to keep it looking neat over the coming months. As temperatures get cooler, it will grow less quickly and you’ll only need to cut if it gets messy looking. If you didn’t feed your lawn last month, it’s worth giving it an autumn lawn food. Some of these contain moss treatment, which is useful if moss is a problem in your grass. Remember that moss will return unless you fix the cause of it, such as shade or poor drainage.
Cut your lawn with a Best Buy lawn mower.
3. Prune your plants
Bush roses and buddleia (butterfly plant) can get quite tall over summer and are at risk of blowing about in the wind during winter, which can loosen their roots. To help prevent this happening, cut the whole plant back by half its length.
You can increase the area your climbing roses are covering by tying new growth to the support. Tie it so the stems are as horizontal as possible to encourage them to flower along their whole length, rather just at the top. Then cut side-shoots that flowered back to two buds from their base. Older plants can have a few of the older stems cut back to their base to reduce congestion in the plant.
Shred your prunings in a Best Buy garden shredder.
4. Plant indoor bulbs for Christmas
Plant early varieties of hyacinth by early October. Put them in a cool (10°C), dark place until the shoots are about 5cm, before bringing them into the house.
Plant early varieties of hippeastrum (amarylis) by mid-October. Bigger bulbs produce the best show. Pot them into pots 2 to 3cm wider than the bulb. Water sparingly until the leaves develop.
Plant paperwhite narcissus by mid-November as they flower four to five weeks after planting. The stems may flop, so support them with twigs or small canes.
Discover more about growing bulbs for Christmas
5. Bring tender plants indoors
Make sure you bring in tender plants, such as fuchsias and geraniums, before the frosts arrive or they could be killed. Cut back the plants to a third of their height so they take up less space indoors and keep them in a frost-free, light place, such as a greenhouse. Keep an eye on them during winter and remove any dead flowers or leaves to avoid getting grey mould (botrytis).
Read how to buy the best greenhouse