For some of us, the last throws of summer are a sad time as we think of the coming bleak months of winter with the potential for less sunlight and long dark evenings. However, autumn can bring its own rewards as trees turn wonderful colours and light starts filtering through deciduous branches and falls in places untouched by the sun in summer.
And now is the time to get out and do a few jobs around your garden so it looks it's best through autumn and winter. Not only will you be able to look forward to reaping the benefits in spring, but we hope there are some tips here to help you enjoy your garden more, even in winter.
1. Trim hedges
Between now and October time you probably want to think about getting out and trimming your hedges. Try and do this when the weather is still warm and dry to give your hedge the ideal trim before the cold and wet to come. Not only will your hedge look picture perfect through the chaos of winter, but it will be ready to burst into life and thicken ready to give a home to nesting birds next spring.
2. Repair wooden structures
If you've been trying to ignore a wobbly fence post, or broken gate in your garden all through the summer then now might be the time to get it mended before winter storms hit and the damage becomes 10x worse. With just some simple tools you don't always need to be a professional, and if you finish off with a lick of garden paint or fresh coat of woodstain then even the most rudimentary repair job can blend in and look better.
Or you might think about adding some winter colour by way of a fresh coat of paint in a bright colour on a wooden gate, balcony, fence or shed. There are some great colour options in garden paint available now.
Think about using power tools, garden paint, paint brushes and exterior woodstain. Remember we have great hardware departments in all our stores too, if you live near to Oswestry and Whitchurch, Shropshire and Wrexham, Wales.
3. Clean bird feeders and nesting boxes
If you already love to encourage wild birds into your garden the chances are you will have a few bird feeders hanging around and maybe even bird nesting boxes. Autumn is the ideal time to give these a good clean, ready for winter use.
Alternatively, to help you enjoy the winter months more why not start with a simple seed feeder or nut feeder hung within view of a window, and where you can sit comfortably and watch your new feathered visitors bring life and colour into your winter garden. You'll find different species will be attracted by different feeds, so a mix of feeders will work even better!
4. Tidy flower borders
As your perennials start to go over, and bedding plants look untidy, you'll want to trim herbaceous perennials back and pull out old and dead plant growth to help prevent disease over the damp autumn and winter months. Slugs and snails will find less places to hide if you can clear away the decaying matter - but don't throw it out! If you can, start composting so you can recycle all the goodness back onto your garden later. As the season moves on you'll no doubt have fallen leaves to clear up too, both in borders and on your lawn.
To speed up composting you may want to consider a compost tumbler which speeds up the process of creating your own compost in just 6-8 weeks. Also consider a garden vac/blower, secateurs, garden gloves, wellies and garden shoes and other hand tools.
5. Weed and add compost to borders
Along with tip 4, one of the best things you can do for your flower beds to prepare for next year is to weed them and, when the soil is moist after a period of rain, add a good layer of compost/mulch to any bare ground around your plants. Not only will the worms do a lot of the hard work for you by drawing down the material to improve your soil over winter, but you will be improving the structure and adding nutrients for better growth in spring. It should help cut down on annual weeds next year too.
6. Last Lawn Cut and Edge
Whilst we can often cut the lawn through the winter months if the conditions are right, there are still some handy tips to keep your lawn in tip top condition and looking great even through winter, with or without extra mowing.
Firstly, as the weather starts getting cooler adjust the height on your mower to leave a longer cut. Your lawn will still look tidy and it will help it through the colder months. Remember to give your mower a clean off before storing it through winter. You may want to scarify your lawn to help pull out all the dead thatch that has built up over the summer, and give it a good feed too.
Re-trim all your lawn edges to be pristine and sharp again. Whilst you might not be out enjoying your lawn at this time of year, just looking out from your warm house and seeing it look perfect over the next few months will give you great satisfaction.
You'll get more great lawn tips in our blog post, '6 Steps to a Perfect Lawn this summer', here.
7. Plant bulbs ready for spring
The biggest tonic of all through the depths of winter is knowing that in the autumn you have prepared a colourful display of your favourite bulbs to flower in the spring sunshine and get the next gardening year off to a great start.
With so many varieties to choose from you may want to prepare some pots with a selection of bulbs to have near doors and windows, ready to watch the first glimpses of green buds coming through. Liven up your borders too with daffodils, muscari (grape hyacinths) and tulips, and even plant bulbs like snowdrops and daffodils into the lawn in natural drifts. You can stick to just one colour scheme, or a subtle mix, or have a riot of colour depending on your choice of spring flowering bulbs.
In our Home & Garden stores in Oswestry and Whitchurch, Shropshire and Wrexham, Wales you will find garden bulbs available from around September time, and pots and potting compost are also available all year round.
All Colour Supplies Home & Garden stores have large garden departments with a wealth of tools, compost, potting accessories, machinery and much more available, and the above is just an indication of some items available to buy online from us.
All items subject to availability.
Most of all, lift your spirits with a walk outside, if you can, and enjoy the beautiful colours that autumn has to offer us.