COUNTRY LIFE PROMOTION

We’ve just had the wettest summer on record. Whilst for some homes out in the country this has meant flooding, it’s also done much for the fertility of the soil. Gone are the summers of scorched, dry grass; many of our gardens have been in full bloom.

But as we all know; things change. As the last dregs of summer cling on and the leaves start to turn a delicious golden brown, it’s time to get your garden ready for the new season and the onset of winter.

Here are a few tips to start things off.

Patio paving
Spring may usually be the time when you start to think about garden paving ideas, but as we head into autumn there’s certainly scope to reinvent your outside space. Adding a patio or garden paving to your outside area is sure to bring a wow factor; whatever the season.

But will anyone see it? The summer didn’t really offer much chance to spend time outside; but September and October usually offer more in the way of sunshine. It may be cold, but once you have your garden paving ready, a couple of accessories such as a patio heater and some classic garden furniture will create the perfect place to enjoy crisp autumn days.

It’s also much easier to maintain than a lawn as the cold weather comes.

Plant your perennials now
OK, so a new patio can make your garden appealing in autumn, but in terms of planting anything you’re definitely looking forward at this stage; but there’s still plenty to do. It’s important to plant any perennials now, before the first frost as this will give them chance to acclimatise and get rooted throughout autumn and winter. You can get plenty of plants and bulbs on sale in garden centres.

They may not look too great now, but when spring comes they’ll be much bigger than those planted after winter.

Think about your soil
You need to add nutrients to the soil to keep it in good condition throughout the cold months. The first step should be to get rid of any weeds. Then add a layer of fertilizer, compost and potting soil and mix with a till. This will mix the soils together as well as dragging up any old vegetable plants from the previous season; these are also good for the soil too.

Tamp it down and add water (yes you need to water in autumn too). You can then cover with plastic sheeting ensuring when this is removed in spring; the summer will be lovely and fertile.

Use what you have
Autumn is all about the leaves falling from the trees. The colours are stunning, but they’re also one of your most valuable assets. Collect them and store them till spring. Sheltered from the light and the air they’ll form into fabulous mulch; a great resource for gardeners.

Store and protect your equipment
Watering cans, hoses and sprinklers should be drained fully and then stored inside for winter. If you don’t and any water in them freezes they could crack. If you have any potted plants still in terracotta pots, bring these indoors and keep on your window sill until they can be re-introduced in spring.

It can take time; but when you love your garden there’s always time to do things properly.