That was the summer then and whilst the heat still lingers lightly, there is a real smell of autumn now. The night is sweeping in early and every day there is rubbish to clean up in the garden. The summer has been great for the gardener, with strong performances from so many things. The bedding has been stunning, and most vegetables have performed. Nature has of course repeatedly demonstrated it’s might, and we have had to wrestle with blackfly, caterpillars and a good raft of fungal issues, but on balance I thought things were good.
The winter vegetables look promising too, with Sprouts and Purple Sprouting well on and Kale already being harvested. Where spaces appear in the vegetable plot we can be popping in over wintering onions and shallots, as well as garlic. Then towards the end of the month Aquadulce broad beans can be direct sown. They are worth the trouble and will bring an early crop to the table. If you have potted any potatoes for Christmas, bring them in against the side of the house. They will enjoy the shelter and the longer they grow the better the result.
In the coming days there will be plenty of green waste, so tidy up your compost heap and if you feel particularly energetic strip it down to harvest this year’s compost and start again. Any recent garden waste can be introduced to the restart. The raking out of freshly made compost is very special and the material is perfect for digging into borders to give them a lift. The clearing and cleaning will also be happening in your flower borders too. Perennials want cutting back, tired bedding wants removing and overgrown plants can tied or tidied. Then you can commit to replanting. The winter bedding can all go in, so pansies, violas, wallflowers as well as sweet Williams, forget-me-nots and bellis daisies can all be planted. Make sure of some bulbs as well. There are some good bulbs to be found and as well as the usual daffodils and tulips, take a look at things like Alliums. The ornamental representatives of the onion family are very showy, offering border displays punctuated by bright drumstick heads of flower.
And finally, as part of the big clean up, check fruit trees and consider greasing their stems to deter over wintering pests. Top fruit (apples, pears and plums) have all attracted the attention of pests this year and grease is the first step towards managing the 2021 visitor.