Garden Design Ideas for this Autumn
Autumn is the perfect time to redesign any areas of your garden that you desire in preparation for spring and summer. Does your garden feel lopsided? Are there too many focal points? Does anything stick out like a sore thumb? Now is the best time to ask yourself these questions. Think big. Be ruthless. Whether it’s the new decking you’ve always wanted, a complete reshape of a path, or bringing in feature trees to create a canopy, now is the time of the year to plan, redesign and make changes to your garden, or make preparations for changes to be made in spring.
Plant Japanese anemones
The stars of the Autumn flower garden, these perennials bear large, single or double, cup-shaped blossoms featuring satiny petals and a gold central button. Flowering from late summer to mid-autumn, these beautiful pink flowers are sure to brighten up your garden in fall. You can grow this flower alongside Disanthus cercidifolius, as the red leaves perfectly compliment the anemones pink flowers. It is especially good in the shade. Careful of roots spreading
Plant small trees
Finding the right sized tree and number of trees for your garden can be tricky. Most seem to either have one huge tree dominating the garden, or a distinct lack of trees. Choosing the right tree species can be tricky, however, one small tree that is a particular autumn stunner is Rhus. The leaves are a deep red orange and yellow and the leaves hold on until December. This tree is great for small gardens. you will probably want to put root barrier around the roots to stop it suckering.
Clear up fallen leaves
The one drawback of stunning autumn trees is that their leaves eventually fall off, covering your garden in a brown layer of foliage! It is particularly important to remove leaves from pond surfaces, as the cover can reduce sunlight entering the pond and promote algae growth, increasing the risk of deoxygenation. It is also important to clear beds and lawns of leaves by raking or blowing them off. If you can, fill compost bins and heaps with fallen leaves as the decomposing leaves will possess large amounts of nutrients which can promote growth. If you feel your plants are hardy enough to deal with the layer of fallen leaves, you can let them stay over winter, as they are food for insects, hiding places for invertates and nourish the soil.
Plant tulip bulbs in preparation for Spring
One of the most popular spring bulbs, plant tulips in October or November in preparation for when they flower in spring. Tulips are perfect bedding plants and grow best in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun, sheltered from the wind. Plant only healthy bulbs, discard any showing signs of damage or mould to reduce the risk of the disease tulip fire. Don’t assume any that flowered this Spring will comes up again.
Layer your garden
As you walk through nature, you will notice plant life occupies all layers and space from the forest floor to the tallest canopies. To ensure your garden doesn’t look so bland and two dimensional, make sure to layer your garden by planting bulbs, ground cover, climbers and shrubs and trees of all sizes. In autumn, make sure to plant autumn favourites such as ‘Japanese anemone’, ‘goldmound’ and Cyclamen hederifolium, but also make plans and preperations for how you will layer your garden for spring and summer.
Plant ornamental grasses
The South of England is a windy place, and autumn is a windy month! Instead of fighting this, why not plant some ornamental grasses to sway in the wind and make your garden feel alive. Autumn favourites include Stipa gigantiea, ‘Rubrum’ and ‘Kleine Silberspinne’. One of the great benefits of grasses is that they can be left all winter before coming alive again in spring.
Create a shrub border
A shrub border featuring autumn shrubs can create a dazzling display of colour throughout the fall. Spiraea japonica (‘Goldmound’) is a year around favourite of gardeners. The shrub is a vibrant yellow in spring, a yellowish green with clusters of pink flowers in summer, before turning into a rich golden yellow in autumn. Furthermore, the leaf litter provided in late autumn and winter by shrub borders provides shelter and warmth to garden wildlife such as hedgehogs.
Create shelter for garden wildlife
Compost heaps are seen as the perfect place to hibernate for a variety of species including hedgehogs and queen bees. A compost bin with a cover will be keep its contents dry and insulated, just make sure to provide access for creatures. You can also provide shelter for wildlife throughout autumn by raking leaves to the edge of hedgerows, leaving herbaceous borders intact to decompose and by leaving upside down stacks of plant pots for insects. Clear out nest boxes so birds can take shelter on cold nights.
Feed winter birds
The colder months can be difficult for garden birds, so you can help them by placing feed from late autumn onwards. Place fat blocks of melted down suet in wired cages to provide garden birds with vital food sources. Although fat is important to help birds survive the colder seasons, make sure to provide a balanced diet with a mix of grain, seeds and nuts. Only put out enough food for a couple of days at a time to reduce the likelihood of rats.
Create a vegetable garden
If you thought autumn is too late for creating a vegetable garden, then you’d be wrong! Vegetables can be planted all year around in the UK, and if you begin work now your vegetable garden will be ready for spring and summer too. Raised beds are built above existing and filled with good quality soil, and these are a good idea as they are easy to weed. Build your bed no larger than 1.2m across and 2.4m in length, as anything larger than this makes access difficult and increases soil compaction if you need to stand on your bed. Your bed must have strong access to direct sunlight as most vegetables need at least 6 hours direct sunlight a day! Access to water such as a local hosepipe is also recommended. Sow corn salad, land cress and oriental salad leaves such as rocket in early autumn to provide cut-and-come-again leaves through autumn and winter if protected with cloches.
What to do in your garden in November
Harvest the last of your tomatoes as the frosts can get them. even if they are green they will ripen in a bowl.
Lift your Dahlias and store them in a dry, dark place (some people leave them in the soil over Winter but this is a risk)
If your Roses are particularly tall you can prune them back to reduce the rock to their roots a strong Winter wind can wreck on them.
Put bubble wrap around any precious tropical trees like Bananas or Tree Ferns if frosts are immanent.
Still seriously think about planting Perennial and trees. Trees can be bought as bare root specimens which means they will be cheaper plus the plants will have five moths to establish without any real need of watering before Spring arrives.
Where to visit in November?
Obviously – Knepp! walks vary from an hour to 4 hours and you will need to bring your own refreshments as there is only a little shop at the beginning of the walks.
A £5 donation is suggested at the car park
New Barn Farm,, Swallows Lane,, Dial Post,, Horsham RH13 8NN
Fancy choosing your own Xmas tree? Wilderness Woods offers you the chance to select your tree from their plantation, put a ribbon around it, then come back in December and chop it down.