Rosie shares her gardening tips and know-how.
Our lawns don’t need to be cut quite so often now.
If however, you have trees and shrubs surrounding your plot that are shedding their leaves, rather than using a rake, it’s much easier to hoover them up with the lawn mower.
This not only makes the garden look tidy but also shreds the leaves and creates an excellent mixture for your compost bin. There are some very good autumn lawn feeds on the market that can be sprinkled on the lawn over the next few weeks.
It’s not too late to lay turf or to repair bear patches on your lawn this month. If you have a particular section of lawn that never looks healthy, it’s possible that there are bricks or large stones near the surface. To see if this is the case, try to push a large garden fork into the area. If there’s resistance, take the piece of turf off the top, dig out the offending obstacles and add some compost to the existing soil.
Then, either put the old turf back and add some grass seed or lay a piece of new turf and you should find the grass will begin to thrive.
The same applies to a new area that you want to turf. Dig the ground over well and remove any hardcore that’s lurking before adding some compost to the soil and laying the turf.
Talking of compost, my favourite subject, you can hopefully now use some of your homemade compost. Lift your bin off the heap and see if the organic matter has rotted down enough to use. If it has not decomposed or if it’s still sticky, it’s not quite ready.
It may be that only the bottom of the heap is ready to use. If that’s the case use what’s good and mix/stir up the rest and put it back in the compost bin for a few more months. Don’t be disheartened though. It really is worth waiting for.
If, however, it is ready you can spread it onto your flower beds, around your plants and shrubs being careful not to cover any.
Planting, pruning and cutting back
While the soil is still warm it is a good time to move or to add new plants or shrubs to your garden. Plant spring flowering bulbs now but not tulip bulbs. These need to be planted in November.
Bushes like buddleja and lavatera for example, can be pruned back to half their size and other shrubs that have become rather overgrown can be trimmed back a little too.
As your flowers fade cut off the flower stalks and the leaves as well, if they’ve turned yellow or brown. Try to leave some of the seed heads uncut for the birds as they are building up their food reserves for the winter.
Weeding and tidying
You’ll be pleased to know that this could be the final weeding session of the year although it is an excellent opportunity, over the winter, to tackle those parts of the garden that you’ve not managed to deal with during the summer.
The areas that you concentrated on this season will, hopefully, stop producing weeds for a few months but it is a good idea to check for any stubborn weeds periodically.
If you have a lot of leaves on your flowerbeds, consider piling some of them up behind your plants and shrubs for hibernating mammals and also they will decompose gradually and do the ground a power of good. The leaves, not the animals!
Remember to keep your bird feeders filled and birdbaths clean and topped up with fresh water. Also consider installing insect hotels and log piles.