Autumn has definitely arrived with shorter daylight hours, cooler temperatures and lovely foliage colours. Autumn colours have been delayed largely due to the more unusual weather that we have had this summer and in September. Unfortunately things are progressing rather quickly now, catching some of us off guard.
Cut back perennials that have died back. Do leave some as food sources and winter habitats for birds and insects. Some perennials are absolutely beautiful in the winter as well with frost on their seed heads, etc.
Now is a good time to divide many herbaceous perennials as well.
Move tender plants like pelargoniums, begonias and fuchsias into a conservatory or greenhouse.
Harvest apples, pears, squash and remaining vegetables like beetroot, runner beans.
Prune climbing roses.
Finish collecting seeds from the garden to sow next year.
Last chance to mow lawns, trim hedges and strum areas of long grass in more mild areas.
Divide establish rhubarb crowns.
Net kale, brassicas and brussel sprouts against pigeons.
Plant garlic cloves and plant out spring cabbages
Start sowing sweet pea seeds for hardy plants and better display in early spring.
Now is also a good time to think about your soil and make improvements for the spring. If you have heavy clay consider using a soil improver or adding compost. By digging it through, frosts will help break up heavy clumps and worms should draw down the compost helping to enrich the soil for next year. Also think about growing green manures in open soil, providing additional nutrients when dug back into the soil in the spring.
Remember October and November are a great time to plant bare root or rootball specimens including hedging whips, yew, fruit trees, roses and most deciduous trees.