Gardening is beneficial for both our physical and mental wellbeing, making it a fantastic pastime. The lockdown era (let’s hope that’s a thing of the past) saw many people step out into their garden, patio or balcony and turn it into a green oasis, providing space for mindfulness, family time and, when allowed, socialising too.
With autumn well and truly upon us, new research from garden care experts, lovethegarden.com reveals that over a third of Brits are missing the key autumn window to prep for their spring blooms! 80% of Brits take to their gardens in spring and summer, but miss out on the key preparation time that is needed in the autumnal months. In fact, only 20% think their garden needs help in the colder months, and over 75% think autumn is the season to totally leave their garden to its own accord.
Kate Turner, Miracle-Gro’s gardening guru is on-hand to help the UK with its garden care and to encourage the people of Britain to take to their gardens in autumn – something they’ll be grateful for come spring when their garden thanks them by being in full bloom. What’s more, autumn gardening comes with a huge range of benefits, from getting out in nature to improve mental health or simply saving yourself a bigger job in the spring.
Spring gardens are made in autumn so, if you want those snowdrops bursting into your garden as we emerge out of winter and tulips bulging out of pots come springtime… read on!
Lawn Care is Key
Although we may not spend as much time in the garden in autumn, starting your lawn care in at this time is one of my biggest tips. This will ensure lush, green grass in the warmer months that isn’t patchy. Keep your lawn well fed with Miracle-Gro® 2 in 1 Nourish & Protect Seaweed Lawn Food and sow seed, as well as clearing any fallen leaves away regularly.
Consider Colour Over the Colder Months
Now is the time to dig up any old summer annuals (plants that flower for one season before dying) for compost and replace them with plants that will bloom in the autumn and winter such as violas, pansies, bellis daisies, wallflowers and cyclamens. These will add colour over the colder months and keep your garden looking bright.
Bulbs are Your Best Friends
Bulbs are one of my favourite quick and easy wins to add colour to the garden (and a cheaper option than buying flowers in spring!) that can be planted in autumn. Plus, they then need very little maintenance until the spring!
Make a ‘bulb lasagne’ to create a successional display of gorgeous flowers throughout spring. Layer your bulbs in a container, with the biggest and latest flowering at the bottom. Follow with a layer of bulb fibre (compost specifically designed for growing bulbs), then medium bulbs. Continue the process until all bulbs are planted in order of size, and top with violas that are currently in bloom.
· Daffodils – Sept-Oct
· Crocus – Sept to Oct
· Alliums – Sept – Nov
· Winter Iris – Sept-Nov
· Tulips – later in November
Keep Wildlife in Mind
Shrubs with berries will not only add bright reds and yellows to your garden over the winter but will also encourage birds to your garden as they will eat the fruit. The birds will then help you protect your plants by keeping caterpillars and aphids in check! It’s also worth mentioning, please don’t forget to top up bird feeds in autumn. They need as much food as possible to get through the winter.
Mulch is Your Friend
Continue to weed and clear leaves from any borders and add mulch (products like bark that help enrich soil) in a thick layer on top of your soil. This will help protect roots from winter cold and stop soil from being washed away – as well as keeping weeds at bay and adding nutrients to the soil.
Some of my favourite additions to mulch:
- Loose dog hair or human hair helps birds and wildlife in making their nests.
- Extra animal bedding (such as rabbit bedding), or wet shredded newspaper to help with insulation.
Add Structure with Shrubs
Plant evergreen shrubs in autumn to help brighten the garden when other plants go dormant. Fatsia Japonica, Acuba Japonica and Skimmia Japonica are fantastic options that can add structure and light with their large, glossy green leaves.
Help Your Houseplants
Now the sunlight is not as hot, houseplants can be moved nearer a natural light source. Make sure they’re kept away from any cold draughts, and not placed too close to heat sources like radiators or open fires.
The following plants are a fantastic way to brighten up your home during the cold, dark months:
Moth orchid – This will still need the occasional feed and water. Miracle-Gro Pump and Feed Orchid is perfect for a fuss-free feed.
Pink Quill – Very little care is needed by pink quills, which will flower in the winter if exposed to enough sunlight
Flaming Katy – This plant comes in an array of bright colours such as yellow and pink, and if bought in flower in autumn will still bloom as long as it is kept warm and bright. Feeding a Flaming Katy once a month will help its longevity.
Alongside Kate’s top tips and tricks, Miracle-Gro has created an interactive house map showing exactly how to keep your garden going through the autumn and winter seasons – just visit lovethegarden.com.