Autumn Diary | 10 ways to get your garden ready for autumn

Hooray for Autumn. My second favourite season after Spring. 2020 has been a funny old year and most of us have spent more time in our garden than usual. And it seems that’s likely to continue into winter, so there’s a little list of jobs that need to be done to get our gardens “autumn ready”.

1 Perk up your paths and paving

A good stiff brush into all the corners will get rid of pests or at least ruin any ideas they had about creeping into the house. A pressure wash of the patio will prevent it getting slippery, or a bucket of soapy water and a stiff brush, if you don’t mind a bit of hard work.

2 Blitz those borders for autumn

Time for a final tidy up of the borders. There’ll be plenty of deadheading to do, weeds to pull out and aphids to check for. When you’ve finished, you’ll get a better idea of where the winter gaps are – the ones that can be filled with evergreen shrubs for seasonal colour.

Don’t forget to trim all your lavender plants. It’s tempting to keep the flowers going, but you’ll need to give them a good trim if you want a good show next year. Just make sure you don’t cut into the wood.

Introducing Boris. I’m not sure I’ve shown him before. He came to live with us when my parents moved to N Ireland. He seems happy except when the birds poop on his head!

3 Give your lawn some love

The last mow might still be a few weeks away but here’s a few tips to make your lawn love you.

  • Go over it with a rake to remove any moss and weeds
  • Aerate it with a garden fork.
  • Dust it with autumn lawn feed or moss killer.
  • If you have a dog, don’t bother with any of this!

4 Big up your bulbs for spring

I’ve been totally inspired by all the tulips this year so I’ll be planting as many as I can in pots for the spring. I was advised to go for double headed tulips – the big flouncy ones – as they flower for much longer than the singles. We’ve also a little area next to our path at the bottom of the garden that we’ll plant up with miniature daffodils for a burst of February colour.

5 Bring the birds into your garden

Mr Bond takes his bird feeding responsibilities very seriously all year round and we reap the rewards of his efforts by seeing lots of different garden birds, many nesting with us, all year round. This year we’ve made friends with baby bluetits, robins, goldfinches, dunnocks, blackbirds – and the occasional woodpecker from the woods. If you’re thinking about getting a feeder – just do it – it’s well worth the little effort involved. Autumn is a great time to clean your feeders and nest boxes for next season.

6 Protect your pond for autumn

We just have a small water feature which the birds use as a bath, but for anything bigger you might want to give it a good clean, then cover your feature with a light mesh to stop leaves and detritus falling in. If you live in an area prone to frost, you could float a ball in your pond to stop it freezing over.

7 Happy hedges and shrubs

Shrub trimming is one of my favourite garden jobs. It’s so satisfying – even if it plays havoc with my tennis elbow! Most of our big shrubs and our tall bay tree need a good trim before the winter. It’s a good time to think about fitting in a few winter shrubs – Dogwood is a great choice – Shrubby Cornus albaCornus sericea and Cornus sanguinea are grown for their vivid winter stem colour, and look pretty amazing all through the winter.

8 Keep things colourful

Winter should never be a dull time in the garden. The blousy cottage flower might be sleeping, but you can fill your pots and window boxes with pansies, cyclamen and violas for colour right through to spring.

9 Sitting in the winter sun

We’ll be stashing away most of our summer furniture under cover to protect it from the weather, but we always make sure there’s a bench or bistro set near the front door. I love to wrap myself up in a scarf and sit out in the morning sun with a hot coffee – even in the depths of winter.

10 Lighting matters

There’s not much point making your winter garden look all lovely if you can’t see it. We replaced our garden lights over the summer so looking forward to using them to light the pathway, and show off our brand new fence. We’ve also added PIR lights around the parking/ bin area. I wouldn’t want Mr Bond to have to take the bins out in the dark!

A little bit of autumn garden inspiration

I find my biggest inspiration comes from visiting National Trust gardens, or private gardens that open to the public. As I write, entry to National Trust gardens is on a pre-booking basis (even members) through their website. National Trust Bodnant is my most local garden. I started a blog diary for Bodnant this year and planned a monthly visit to show how the gardens change through the year. Sadly I only got as far as Bodnant in January and Bodnant in February. To be continued. We also love National Trust Plas Newydd just a few miles down the road. Just last week we visited North Yorkshire’s Himalayan Gardens and Sculpture Park , an absolute treat for garden lovers.

Where’s your garden inspiration? I’d love to hear your favourites.

That’s all for now

Judith xx

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