The weather in early fall is still warm enough to make outdoor gardening a comfortable experience. Although the vibrant flowers of summer may be gone, there are plenty of delights to be enjoyed in the form of late-flowering gems such as nerines and chrysanthemums, not to mention the bright berries and showy grass.
Apart from planting bulbs, and protecting frost-tender plants, there are few really pressing jobs at this time of year. You should, however, move any evergreen shrubs that need repositioning. Also dig up and divide any overgrown and congested perennials. Make sure that you have enough clean pots when it comes potting up the tender plants which cannot be left outside in the frost and the wet. Pay close attention to the lawn. Go over it with a fork, stabbing it with the prongs to aerate it.
Early fall is also the ideal time to start planning next spring’s display of bulbs in beds, borders and containers. You should also bring in house and greenhouse plants that have been standing outdoors for the summer. Sow spring-flowering plants such as cyclamen, schizanthus and exacums, plant hyacinths for early flowering under glass and repot cacti if necessary.
In your flower garden you need to:
– plant lilies, plant up a spring window box, container or pot with bulbs,
– take fuchsia and pelargonium cuttings,
– sow hardy annuals to overwinter (only in mild areas or if you can provide winter protection),
– clear summer bedding and prepare for spring bedding plants. Collect old bedding plants to tranfer to a compost heap. Being non-woody they rot down easily. Make sure that there are no seeding or perennial weeds,
– continue to watch for pests and diseases on roses and other vulnerable plants,
– lift and store dahlias after the first frost, lift and store gladioli and other tender bulbs, corms and tubers,
– take in tender aquatic plants from the pond if frost is threatened,
– plant a container of evergreens for fall and winter, and add some early-flowering bulbs to brighten up the display in late winter and early spring.
Plants at their best are: Anemone x hybrida, aster, chrysanthemum, dahlia, Hibiscus syriacus, Nerine bowdenii, helenium, rudbeckia, Salvia uliginara, sorbus, and Sternbergia lutea.
Colorful fall container