Autumn is a busy time for gardeners and garden designers, with only a few weeks left of long days our minds are focused on the winter nights ahead. Glasgow has experienced a couple of mild wet autumns and winters of recent, so it will be interesting to see what happens this year. Despite the occasionally inclement weather I have to say that this is my favourite time of the year for working in the garden, and for garden-owners, you can consider autumn to be the best time to set the ball rolling on new garden designs and planting plans.
I think childhood memories of bonfires and chilly days linger in my mind, and I still derive great satisfaction from a good afternoon’s work in the garden, followed by a hot bath and hearty winter stew for dinner. My dog Solly enjoys the piles of gathered leaves too, and doing his level best to un-do my hard work when he can.
Let’s think about gardening jobs first. A bit of work done in the garden at this time of year can ensure that you have a tidy garden to look out on over the winter months, but it also benefits the garden immensely if it is not sitting under a blanket of fallen leaves. So here are a few DOs & DON’Ts for this month.
- DO clear leaves whenever you can, if you have space in the garden you can create a pile for
- DO spike boggy patches in your lawn and rake in sharp sand.
- DO re-define lawn edges with an edging tool (also called a ‘half moon’).
- DO plant Tulip bulbs, November is the ideal time for this.
- DO plant out winter bedding plants to add some colour to your garden.
- DO feed your birds regularly and reliably, regular visitors come to rely on this over the
- DO leave a messy corner for wildlife if you can.
- DO cut down any dead growth on plants that is not going to provide interest over the
- DON’T hesitate to give your grass a final late cut if it needs it – try not to do it when it is
particularly wet, but a low temperature does not matter.
- DON’T do any significant pruning at this time of year, you do not want to encourage any
tender new growth.
- DON’T forget to make sure your garden is ready for winter storms, check tree stakes, fences
and gates and anything likely to blow away!
It is all too easy to forget about the garden over the autumn and winter months and abandon it to the elements, but with a bit of planning it can become one of the magical times of the gardening year. I am in the process of planting up new beds in my garden and I am deliberately choosing plants that look magical with a heavy coating of frost on them. Ornamental grasses such as Miscanthus sinensis can look great in the winter, and reliable summer flowers such as Astilbes can provide wonderful shapes too (if they have faded gracefully!) I am also going to be underplanting a new Birch tree with Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ to provide some vivid orange winter stems in future winters.
Autumn and winter are the best time of the year for thinking about garden designs too. As we move into a quieter time of year we have an opportunity to think about garden designs when we can look at the garden as a blank canvas. Garden designers and horticultural consultants can help you assess what is and what isn’t working in your garden, and then by working on a garden design over the winter the project is ready to go in the spring. By March, garden designers’ waiting lists are already extensive, so it is worth getting in early.
Tom Angel is a chartered horticulturist, horticultural consultant and award-winning garden designer based in Glasgow, offering everything from garden design to horticultural consultancy including japanese knotweed removal advice.
If you are looking for garden designers in Glasgow, check out Tom’s profile page here.
Share this page: