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Jobs for the garden this Autumn

The season of mellow fruitfulness is upon us and the garden is just begging to be enjoyed in the golden September sunshine. But if your garden is looking anything but mellow and fruitful, don't panic! Now is the perfect time to take stock and think about your plans for next year.

To help get your patch whipped into shape, we’ve rounded up garden designer and owner of the Grade II listed Denmans Garden in Fontwell, Gwendolyn van Paasschen, for her top tips on jobs for the garden this season. Gwendolyn heads up the John Brookes-Denmans Foundation to keep the vision and work of legendary garden designer John Brookes alive, and has just edited How To Design A Garden, which is full of top tips from Brookes himself on designing a garden that fits in with your lifestyle and needs. There’s nobody better to oversee your garden transformation – over to you, Gwendolyn!

So many of us have discovered the pleasure of gardening in the past 18 months and have started new gardens or renovated old ones.  The bulb and seed catalogues and emails that are flooding our mailboxes and inboxes are full of all kinds of new introductions and old favourites, and if you are like me, you succumb to temptation in the dead of night and receive packages with various plants or seeds in the post that you forgot you had ordered. 

Before you place that order, heed the advice of internationally renowned landscape designer John Brookes MBE:

‘One of the hardest things for a gardener to do is to pause in the cultivation of plants long enough to take stock of the lie of your own land. Even a new garden owner cannot wait to rush out, buy plants and get them in the ground.”

Whether you have a new garden or an established one, this is the perfect moment to ‘pause’ and think about what you want from your garden. Here are five tips to get you started.

  1. Take a moment to work out what drove you crazy this summer. Was there an area that was difficult to maintain? Can you reduce some lawn to cut down on pesky mowing? Do your planted areas need too much attention and could you replace them with something simpler and more relaxed. Coming up with solutions to these challenges now will help you enjoy your garden all the more in future – and may save you money in the process.
  2. As the weather gets colder, give some though to your views from the inside The link between the interior and exterior of your home should be a year-round connection. Do you have something to look at during the dark days of winter, a focal point of winter-blooming perennials or lovely coloured twigs? If not, that’s your next purchase.
  3. Nothing cures the winter blues like watching early spring bulbs emerge. Try winter aconites for a dazzling blast of cheery yellow that works well with other early bulbs and white cyclamen.
  4. Now is a great time to start collecting your own seeds. Repurpose old yoghurt containers or other plastic containers and collect seeds for late autumn sowing or indoor propagation. Don’t forget to label your containers, and let the seeds dry out completely before sealing them. Packaged nicely, seeds make great Christmas presents too.
  5. Mulch, mulch, mulch. Grind up those old dead leaves by running a lawnmower over them and then blow them back into your shrubberies to protect plants from Arctic blasts and dry summer spells. Leaf mulch looks attractive, and worms will love it too.

Want more tips and advice? Pick up a copy of How To Design A Garden, published Oct 7, or head to Denmans Garden for inspo, ideas and a rummage around the plant centre.

Find more ideas here

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