Allotment, Composting, Gardening, Gardening Year, Gardens, Grow Your Own, Planting

Autumn is a season of transition. As the warm bright days of summer begin to shorten and grow colder, your crops near their end and it’s time to start preparing for winter and planting for spring. There is a lot to do at this time of the year, but with our list of jobs to do this season, you will find yourself well prepared. 

General Maintainance 

raking leaves

  • Collect fallen leaves– keep your garden looking tidy and reduce the chances of pests and diseases in your garden
  • Create a compost heap –  fallen leaves and dead plant material can make great compost that will be good for plants in spring. Think about creating your heap in a quiet corner of your garden or in a compost bin
  • Repair or replace fencing – now that your plants are dormant and the ground is still warm enough to dig in it’s a great time to replace damaged or old fencing
  • Insulate outdoor taps – frozen taps can become damaged. Wrap in kitchen foil of fleece to protect it from the coldest weather
  • Prepare the lawn for winter – continue to mow the lawn if the frost is not too heavy, but raise the height of the mower blades; spike with a garden fork to improve drainage
  • Organise your shed-  take the time to clear out your garden shed, check security, and organise and clean your tools ready for spring. 
  • Prune the garden– prune fruit trees, dormant shrubs and hedges, roses, and Japanese maples in order to ensure a good start to spring
  • Cluster container plants together– as their roots are more exposed to the elements, move shrubs and bedding plants growing in containers to sheltered spots and cluster together for protection from the colder weather
  • Check tree ties– check any tree ties to make sure trees are protected from strong winds and the tree stems will not be damaged by ties that are too tight; 
  • Make Leaf Mould – bag up fallen leaves in a good quality bin bag. Poke holes in the bag and leave out of sight for two years. Leaf mould  can be used as seed-sowing compost or used to enrich the soil
  • Clear the remains of summer crops – to avoid them rotting and attracting pests and diseases
  • Clean Your Tools – taking good care of your tools now will prevent them from rusting over winter and needing to be replaced in the summer
  • Prune fruit bushes –  prune out any dead, dying or diseased wood whilst your fruit trees are dormant to encourage new and good growth in the spring
  • Net brassicas – to protect them from overwintering birds. Use a fine mesh or a frame that it lifts clear of the plant to stop birds pecking through. You could also consider a polytunnel or cold frame
  • Begin Digging Over – dig small sections of your garden over the month to get manure, air and compost into the soil. 

Plants 

 

  • Protect plants from the frost– standard terracotta planters often break in cold weather, so consider our frost-resistant fibrecotta. For plants in flower beds, a cold frame or cloche fleece provides instant protection
  • Raise plant containers– raise pots off the ground for the winter using bricks or pot feet to prevent them from becoming waterlogged
  • Prune rose bushes- prevent wind rock (swaying in the wind and the roots becoming loose) by pruning roses by one third to half their height
  • Cut back herbaceous perennials– cut back the yellowing foliage of any flowering plants, then life and divide any overcrowded clumps
  • Plant tulip bulbstulip bulbs to bloom in spring next year are best planted in late autumn to prevent the tulip fire disease
  • Move dormant plants– if you need to relocate any plants or fruit trees, now is the time to do so while they are dormant
  • Plant spring bulbs– plant bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, and fritillaries before the first frost to fill your garden with colour in th spring
  • Take hardwood cuttings– cut healthy shoots from suitable trees, shrubs, and climbers, including honeysuckle and blackcurrant shrubs. plant in the ground or in a pot to propagate new plants
  • Lift and store dahlia tubers– these tender perennials need protection from the colder weather, so lift the dormant roots and stems to store indoors and plant back outside next spring

Greenhouse 

 

  • Stock up on greenhouse accessories– now you’ll be spending more time in your greenhouse, make sure to stock up on accessories, including a heater to maintain the temperature and staging to hold your plants
  • Sow winter herbs– sow Mediterranean herbs such as thyme, sage, and parsley for a fresh supply during the winter
  • Clean your greenhouse– if you haven’t already done so, make sure to clean your greenhouse thoroughly; wash and disinfect capillary matting before storing away
  • Water plants sparingly– make sure plants are hydrated but keep the greenhouse as dry as possible to reduce the risk of disease
  • Combat pests– check overwintering plants for pests such as aphids and red spider mite, treat if necessary using a general insecticide
  • Maintain plants– pick faded leaves and dead flowers from plants that are being stored in the greenhouse over the winter
  • Check that all heaters are working properly –  You will need them in the coming months, so check them now so you don’t have to rush and buy new ones when they are needed. If any are broken replace them now
  • Remove snow– make sure to brush any snow off the top of greenhouses and cold frames to make sure the glass does not get damaged

 

 

Gardening, Gardening Year, Gardens, Plants, Wildlife

August is usually the hottest month of the year, so your main focus should be keeping your garden watered and your pond and water features topped up. There is also some prep work to do for the arrival of .autumn, and you should continue some of your maintenance from last month.

General 

Top up birdbaths, ponds and water features – June is one of the hottest months of the year so you need to check your birdbaths and ponds regularly to make sure they don’t go dry.

Keep the garden watered – your garden is going to dry out quickly in the heat this month, keep everything evenly watered to stop your garden going yellow and wilting.

Keep on top of Algae growth –  strong sunlight creates the perfect environment for algae growth in ponds or water features. Remove it as you see it in ponds, and add wildlife-friendly weed control into water features.

Trim conifers and other garden hedges – this is the time of year when growth can get a bit out of control, so now is the best time to trim in order to keep an even shape. Just make sure that you check the hedge for birds nests first.

Think about which plants you would like for next springit might seem a bit early, but now is the time to get thinking about next year, and if you want to be ready for autumn planting it’s best to start ordering now.

Plants

  • Tidy up fallen leaves and flowers to discourage disease.
  • Mow wildflower meadows to help scatter the seeds.
  •  Cut back faded perennials to keep borders tidy.
  • Keep on top of weeds 
  • Prune all summer flowering shrubs 
  •  Prune climbing roses and rambling roses once they’ve finished flowering 

Wildlife 

Put out food for hedgehogs – hoglets should be emerging from their birth nests this month so to give them a helping hand as they start to explore the world you can leave out water and meat-based dog or cat food (ideally chicken) on a plate or in a hedgehog feeder.

Plant low growing plants around ponds – this is the time of year where baby frogs should be emerging from ponds, and you can help them hide from predators or shelter from the sun by planting low growing plants or allowing the lawn to grow near the edge of your pond.

Sow wildlife-friendly biennials – planting flowers like foxgloves, forget-me-nots and hollyhock is a great way to attract pollinators to your garden. By sowing now you are ensuring a source of food that’ll last longer into the year, giving them a better chance to survive the winter.

Gardening, Gardening & Landscaping, Gardens

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a big impact on the horticultural industry across the globe, and here in the UK, the biggest blow has been felt by the garden centres and nurseries who saw their supply chains shut down overnight.  It also saw the closure of the Chelsea flower show and the cancellation of the Britain In Bloom competition. With all this going on you’d think it would be an empty year for plant lovers across the county, but not quite – one thing we’ve learned about gardeners this year is that they always find a way. 

2020 has seen a coming together of gardeners across the country who have been using the internet to show off their outdoor spaces and wow everyone with their designs – here are some of our favourites.

 

Flower Show

Virtual Chelsea Flower Show

Despite going digital in 2020, fans of the flower show still got a busy schedule of things to look forward to this year with interviews and panels still happening virtually, but the most interesting part was the garden tours led by some of the biggest names in horticulture. It’s your chance to look round the gardens of Alan Titchmarsh and Monty Don to get some inspiration from the greats. 

Click one of the below to enjoy a virtual highlight from the Chelsea Flower Show:

Adam Frost Garden Tour

Lee Connely, Attracting Wildlife

Diarmuid Gavin, Garden Tour

Tom Massey, Garden Meadow

The National Trust

The National Trust has also been opening its doors to digital visitors this year, so that even though you may have been in lockdown you can still experience the great gardens of British heritage.  There isn’t a complete list of these beautiful panoramas available, but we’ve put together some of our favourites.

Click one of the below to enjoy a virtual tour of a National Trust site:

Hidcote

Giant’s Causeway

Sissinghurst Castle

Gardens Illustrated 

This mainstay of the gardeners coffee table has taken the opportunity to shine a light on some great garden design, This series of tours takes a deep dive into the history and design of the gardens it showcases. The whole list can be found here.

Around the World

There are great gardens all around the world, and a few of them are opening up their gardens to the internet, giving you the chance to see some of the world’s best gardens without leaving your living room.

Click one of the below to enjoy a virtual tour of a garden from around the world:

Monet’s Garden, France

Chicago Botanic Garden, U.S

Keukenhof, Holland

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii

 

https://www.primrose.co.uk/?utm_campaign=1934163_virtual_garden_tours_uk_20200710&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter-UK

Garden Design, Gardening, Gardening & Landscaping, Gardens, How To, Scott, Wildlife

A garden pond is one of the best things you can create to encourage all sorts of animals into the garden. It will act as both habitat and water source to a variety of wildlife such as dragonflies, frogs and all sorts of birds. This guide will equip you with the knowledge to make a wildlife-friendly pond in your garden with minimal materials. 

Be sure to share how you go on with building your own pond over on the Primrose Instagram.

garden pond with water lillies

Tools & Materials:

  • Pond liner
  • String and pegs or stakes
  • Sharp knife
  • A long plank of wood
  • Spirit level
  • Garden spade
  • Bags of sand
  • Some large rocks

Method:

Locate Your Pond

  1. Identify the best spot for your pond. The ideal would be a spot that gets plenty of sun during the day and a little shade in the evening. If you can, avoid any overhanging trees as falling leaves can pollute the pond water.
  2. Mark out the edge of your pond with the string and pegs. Play around with different shapes and sizes until you’re happy. 

Dig Your Pond

  1. Start digging. If you dig from the middle and work out you can adjust the shape as it develops. Things can look very different in perspective once a piece of lawn suddenly become a large hole. You don’t have to dig very deep; a shallow pond will still be very beneficial for wildlife. 
  2. Pile soil to one side of your pond to create a gradual slope. This will allow wildlife to access the water easily and get out of the water should anything accidentally fall in. 
  3. Once you’re happy with the size and shape, rest your plank of wood across the pond and use your spirit level to check both sides are even. Repeat several times at different angles. This step is very important. Having a pond that is higher on a certain edge could lead to water flooding out of the pond in heavy rain. Spend time making sure this part is as perfect as you can get it.
  4. Remove any sharp objects or stones from the bottom of the hole to avoid ripping the lining before covering the bottom of your pond with sand. A small layer of a few cm’s will do to offer a layer of protection for the liner.
  5. Dig a small trench around the edge of the pond for the excess liner to be tucked into. This will help give everything a clean finish.

Line Your Pond

  1. Place the liner into the hole ensuring it covers the entire surface. Take time to remove as many creases as you possible can pushing the liner into the surface of the soil so it fits the shape of the hole as close as possible. 
  2. Tuck the edge of the liner into your trench and weigh it down with rocks, removing any excess liner with a sharp knife.
  3. Use any remaining sand to create a small layer of sand in the base of your pond.

Fill Your Pond

  1. Fill your pond with water! Try to use collected rainwater if possible as this will be packed full of nutrients that are perfect for kickstarting wildlife. To stop the water from disturbing the sand you can empty it onto a surface like a plastic bag so that the force is spread out a little more.
  2. Once filled you can add your choice of aquatic plants; wildlife will soon flock to your new pond!

Scott at PrimroseScott Roberts is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.