Unfortunately, it’s the beginning of the end for another gardening season. With cooler temperatures of late, throughout the garden it is evident that autumn is here. Summer bedding schemes and containers have lost their boldness, although there is the prospect of these lovely autumn tints to come from trees and shrubs, especially acers.
There’s a few weeks yet to get spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, grape hyacinths, bedding hyacinths and alliums planted but if the choice is polyanthus, pansies, violas and double daisies then they have to go in now so that they have a chance to get established before winter sets in.
It seems a pity to remove plants that have and, some still are, giving colour but that’s a decision that gardeners have to make.
It’s certainly a busy time of year and with flowering plants to come out and be replaced and vegetbles being harvested, weeds will take their place if not kept in check.
On the positive side, however, there’s the joy of purchasing something for beds, borders and containers.
If wallflowers are the choice then try and get bushy, sturdy stock as these will be better able to stand up to any severe wintry weather.
In the herbaceous border, plants are also showing signs that the season is coming to an end. The only exceptions are the many varieties of Michael daisies and Sedum spectabile, the latter a magnet for any late butterflies.
Some gardeners leave the dead foliage on herbaceous plants, they say to provide the plants with some winter protection. However, it is much better to trim back all the top growth and remove any weeds between the clumps.
Not only is this tidier but it is also healthier for the plant. Removing decaying stems and foliage gets rid of any diseases that may be lurking and also reduces the hiding places for slugs, snails and other pests.
n Give evergreen hedges a final trim so that they are tidy throughout the winter months. This is especially important for Leyland conifers that continue to extend their growth.