As summer comes to an end and the cooler autumn mornings are upon us, it’s time to wander round the garden and look at which plants have faded or gone over and need a tidy up.
Hedges can be given a last trim in late summer or autumn before the frosts set in. Perennials that have finished flowering can be cut back to the ground or to any new growth that has started to appear. However, I always like to leave a few seed heads to sparkle in the winter frosts, whether it’s the whorls of yellow phlomis, now faded to brown or grasses such as the native Deschampsia cespitosa. Any perennials that are starting to take over or outgrow their space can be dug up and divided to make new plants for other areas of the garden, or for giving to friends, such as irises, day lilies (hemerocallis) and geraniums.
Autumn fruiting raspberries will be ripening; I love growing a few summer and autumn fruiting canes to make the season last as long as possible, always assuming the birds don’t beat you to it. And it’s a chance to harvest any last vegetables – a few more beans, the last of the sweetcorn and a few stems of chard (which will go on for a while yet).
It’s also the perfect time of year to start thinking about any gaps in the garden; nurseries and garden centres will be brimming with allium and tulips bulbs ready for planting. Whether you’re wanting to add to an existing spring display or introduce new tulip colours, perhaps the vibrant orange of Prinses Irene or Ballerina to compliment the deep velvety purple of Havran or Queen of the Night.
November (depending on the weather) is usually the start of bare root planting season, ideal for putting in that new hedge, adding a tree or two, or a few shrubs. In smaller spaces fan-trained fruit trees grown against a fence or wall are the ideal way to add fruit to a garden or one of my favourites, using step over fruit (low growing espalier fruit trees) to divide up a garden. Many rose growers will also be starting to send out plants, and if you’re looking for inspiration the rose catalogues are full of beautiful colours and planting suggestions; it’s so easy to get carried away!
About the Author
Camilla Grayley is a garden designer mainly working in and around Yorkshire but has travelled up and down the UK to design gardens and is always happy to travel to help clients with their gardens. I love creating gardens with strong architectural outlines softened by voluminous planting that draws on year round interest, ensuring there is something to capture the eye whatever the season. Gardens should always evoke all the senses from the colour palette on the eye, to the rustling of plants swaying in the wind and the amazing perfumes that can be inhaled, whether on a summer’s evening or in the depths of winter.
If you’d like to get in touch, details are on my website https://www.camillagrayleydesign.com/contact/