Planting in an Autumn garden
Spring may seem a long way off however Autumn is the best time to start sowing seeds and plant bulbs. Always plant your bulbs in your Autumn Garden as soon as you can after buying. Bulbs don’t have a very good shelf life and will not survive long after the planting date.
Hyacinths, Snow drops, dwarf Irises, Daffodils, Narcissus, Tulips and Crocuses are all bulbs that can be planted in your Autumn garden and will look fabulous when Spring comes around. Check your bulbs are nice and firm before planting, then plant them in an area of your Autumn garden that will get plenty of direct sunlight.
Give your garden soil a quick turn over to ensure it’s weed free then plant the bulbs at a depth that’s about 3 times as deep as the bulb is wide. Water well after planting then leave them alone to allow nature to do its thing until they flower beautifully in Spring.
Boost the colours in your Autumn garden
You can easily prevent your garden from going into Autumnal hibernation by planting shrubs/trees and plants that have berries or bright coloured foliage. These add a dash of colour to any garden space. One of my favourites for Autumnal colour is Euonymus alatus also known by it’s common name of Burning Bush or Fire Bush. This gorgeous shrub turns a wonderful fiery crimson red, it looks astonishing when it catches the Autumn sunshine. Reddish purple fruits split open to reveal orange seed capsules for even more Autumn interest. It has the most beautiful and intricate corky wings on its stems, these can be clearly seen once the leaves drop – in fact “alatus” is Latin for winged. It is this feature which gives Euonymus alatus another of its common names – Winged Euonymus. A truly stunning shrub for any Autumn garden.
You could also plant a Japanese Maple, (Acer palmatum) or two. These are small, deciduous trees grown for their graceful appearance, Autumn colour and their truly beautiful foliage which may be coloured or deeply dissected.
Shrubs with Autumn berries bring colour from the berries themselves, and the birds they attract to them. The other great news is that they are so very easy to grow. Check out the unusual violet colour of a Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’s’ berries. Wow, they are stunning. the birds turn their attention to it late in the season. ‘Profusion’ also has lilac flowers in late summer and bronzed spring foliage – which colours again in Autumn. A year round stunning display of colour and interest, but importantly, stunning in an Autumn garden.
The benefit of these types of shrubs/plants/trees is that their colours will sustain with minimal upkeep, which will then ensure your garden continues to be eye-catching, bright and colourful through the colder months.
Protect the Hedgehog in your Autumn garden
Chances are Hedgehogs will visit your garden on a regular basis, particularly in Autumn when there are plenty of leaves in gardens to use as shelter. Hedgehogs are at risk. Any steps you can take to safeguard them in your garden can help to ensure their survival. It is possible to buy specialist Hedgehog food ,however, you can leave out fresh water, tinned dog or cat food (not fish-based) and crushed dog or cat biscuits. They are also partial to a boiled egg. Never feed hedgehogs milk, it can cause diarrhoea; instead provide plain, fresh water in a shallow bowl.
You can also buy special hedgehog houses, however the best option is to keep a pile of leaves and some logs in the garden so that they can inhabit those. As long as long as you don’t mind having a small messy area in your garden you may find a hedgehog family moves in sooner rather than later.Hedgehogs usually hibernate between November and mid March. They must have enough fat reserves to survive hibernation. Making hedgehog homes in the garden and providing the right food will help hedgehogs stay alive throughout the Winter months.