WITH the onset of autumn there are many jobs to be done in the garden.
Cut down all herbaceous perennials that have finished flowering and are looking past their best, to about an inch above ground level.
If any need dividing or moving, label clearly and mark with a cane to help you identify it later.
All roses should be tidied. Cut back any wispy growth to prevent wind damage. Remove and dispose of any diseased fallen leaves.
If like me, you planted sweet peas on to wigwams within your herbaceous borders, it’s best to cut these down. I have left the supports in place until after I have re-arranged the border in about a month’s time, to remind me to leave enough space to re-plant my new seedlings next spring.
Cut back lavender to approximately half of the past season’s growth, but no more. If you have a garden pond, you can add the lavender cuttings to the water as it is a great organic suppressant of blanket weed. Alternatively tie in bunches and hang to dry for use in scented sachets to deter moths in cupboards and drawers.
I have removed all dead Buddleia flowerheads. I will follow up with an end of season prune in a few weeks’ time to neaten the shrubs and avoid any damage from autumnal winds and/or winter snow.
The recent damp weather makes this the ideal time to remove any perennial weeds such as stinging nettles, brambles, bindweed and ground elder.
Take advantage of the soft soil by also removing weeds from your lawn. Scarifying the lawn at this time of the year will also remove any accumulated thatch.
If you’ve not already done so, don’t forget to buy spring bulbs as they need to be planted in the coming weeks.
Extend the planting season with variety: snowdrops and crocus in January, followed by daffodils from February through to April, tulips in May then alliums. Cammassia Quamash in June is great for naturalising and a great addition for wildflower meadows.
Remove excessive foliage from any remaining tomato plants to improve ripening. I’ve done the same with cucumbers, squashes, peppers and aubergines growing in the greenhouse to allow more light as the days shorten.
Globe artichokes I grew from seed last winter have produced a bumper crop, as have my butternut and gem squash. Wonderfully satisfying! Fruit trees have cropped better than they have in years. Pick regularly and remove any windfall from beneath the trees daily.
lWith an eye for detail, Louise Venter has a lifetime’s experience in horticulture, extensive plant knowledge and is a practising garden designer. Her sensitivity to the environment, style and age of each property and attentive consideration of her clients’ brief is evident in all her projects, both large and small. For more details call 07803 583687, email louise_ email@example.com or visit www.louiseventergarden design.com
Garden designer LOUISE VENTER gives her tips for tidying up your garden for autumn and preparing for a lovely show for next spring.