As summer draws to a close and the nights are getting longer, it’s time to start thinking about autumn planting in your garden. While next spring and summer might be the furthest thing from your mind, by planning ahead and planting now you’ll reap the rewards next year. Autumn is actually the time of year that you should be doing the majority of your garden planting!
We all associate spring with the gorgeous Daffodils and Tulips that bloom then, but the time to plant spring blooming bulbs is in the autumn. Although garden centres will start selling bulbs for autumn planting from July onwards it’s best to wait until the soil has cooled off a little. Plant your daffodil bulbs in October and your Tulips in November and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning spring display next year.
For winter flowering, nothing is as beautiful and fragrant as the Snowdrop. Scatter the bulbs and plant them where they land for a beautifully natural display in January and February.
Annuals are plants which are sown, flower and die within a year so need replanting every year. By sowing them in the autumn rather than waiting until spring your garden will put on a flowery display much earlier. It’s important only to sow hardy annuals though, as those that are tender or half-hardy are unlikely to survive the frost.
Hardy annuals include pot marigolds, larkspur, flax and love-in-a-mist amongst others. Some annuals like sweet peas and california poppies can also be planted in the autumn but will need some protection from cloches or horticultural fleece. Plant your annuals in early autumn, preferably September, when the soil is still warm and well before the first frosts.
Vegetables and salad
If you like to grow vegetables as well as flowers and shrubs in your garden, there are winter vegetables that should be planted in autumn, after the summer is over.
Onions and garlic both have a long growing season so planting them in autumn means they’ll be ready for harvesting next summer. Both are very easy to grow and will pretty much look after themselves over winter. You can also plant winter hardy varieties of spring onions (such as White Lisbon) which will be ready to eat in the spring.
Sowing broad beans and peas in autumn will ensure you have an early supply of these too ready to harvest in spring. Try Aquadulce Claudia broad beans and Meteor or Kelvedon Wonder peas as they are particularly suitable for autumn sowing.
Adelaide carrots can also be planted in autumn for a really early crop in spring, though from November onwards they should be sown in a greenhouse.
Perpetual spinach and winter salads such as Lambs Lettuce, Land Cress and Winter Gem can all be cut again and again, supplying you with salad throughout the winter. Winter salads will need some cover though.
While you’re doing your autumn planting, why not treat your lawn to our Late Autumn Lawn Treatment so that your grass is as stunning as the rest of your garden? This is applied during October to December and will keep moss at bay as well as strengthen and harden your grass for winter conditions.