Autumn has very definitely come in the garden, with the trees surrounding the walls turning colour and shedding their leaves. Most of the borders have been cut back except a few such as the beautiful Salvia border which is in full bloom. There are a huge array of salvia varieties, perhaps surprising for a plant whose most common variety is sage, such a well-known culinary herb. Some are tender and take more expertise, indoor space and time to care for them over the seasons.
However some varieties are hardy and they are worthy additions to any garden. They can be grown en masse or as specimen plants in a container and are good for long summer – autumn colour.
The roses too are still going, but increasingly the dead-headed blooms aren’t replaced and we are beginning to think about pruning them. They are being given a boost with the addition of farmyard manure. It’s best to add it to the soil surface after some rainfall so the moisture is kept in. The vegetable area is also competing for the manure and we have already spread some and have begun to dig it in. To add further nutrients we have sown a green manure – we’ve used both Phacelia and Winter Tares – in two patches. They’ll grow over the autumn and winter and then will be cut and dug into the soil in the spring.
Look out for the perennials that are no longer flowering – perhaps the ones that you have cut back.
Now is a great time to transplanting them and if they need it to divide them. If you have some left over you could pot them up and give as Christmas gifts to people who have admired them in your garden in the past, as a few months would establish a small plantlet in a container. Wait for the spring to divide or transplant perennials which are still flowering.
You can also plant bulbs this time of year – crocuses and daffodils and later, tulips. It is a good time to do so as they will come up slightly earlier and hopefully be more robust.
I would really urge those of you who haven’t got a compost bin yet to make this the autumn the one you make one. They can be very simple, but the advantages are great, as the soil is where it all starts!