As cooler weather arrives and the garden begins to slow down it is a great time to improve your outdoor space, whether you would prefer a wildlife haven, a modern, contemporary look, or a low-maintenance style. Budget is a factor, and a large garden can be tackled one area at a time. Have a stroll around the garden to see how the layout can be improved. Maybe more seating areas, better pathways, a larger patio, or new borders. Allow for utility areas such as rubbish bins and washing lines. Take note of shady or sunny spots.
Be prepared for months of drought by installing as many water butts as possible to collect the overspill of rainwater from down pipes and invest in a garden irrigation system which will deliver water directly into the soil. The water is controlled efficiently using auto-watering. Drip irrigation is a super water-saving tool allowing a set amount of water to drip onto plant beds and into the root system using recycled rainwater. Shower, bath and washing up water, known as ‘grey’ water, can be used on plants. Any soap or detergent contained in the water will be filtered out, although ‘grey’ water containing bleach or fabric softeners cannot be used.
- Plant some cooler season perennials now to brighten your borders during Winter.
- Dig the soil over, adding plenty of compost mixed with bonemeal to refresh the borders.
- Choose colourful plants that will flower through
- to Spring. Try Osteopermums, Strelitzias (Crane flower), Antirrhinums (Snapdragons), Hellebores, Salvias, Calendulas, Phlox, Rudbekias, Portulaca, Dianthus, Poppies, Kniphofias (Red hot pokers), Clivias, Proteas and Pansies. Ideal shrubs are Camellias and Coleonema (Confetti bush).
Attracting wildlife to your garden is beneficial to garden plants and helps to create a healthy envi- ronment, so if you enjoy the sounds of birdsong, contented bees and colourful butterflies plant some Borage, Foxgloves, Geraniums, Rosemary, Lavender, Agapanthus, Cosmos, Thyme, Scabiosa, and Linaria. Bees tend to be attracted to blue, purple and yellow flowers. A shrub that will attract both butterflies and bees is the Buddleja Ariculata (Weeping sage), with gorgeous scented lilac flowers, and Aloe (Malawi), that has red flowers, is much loved by nectar-eating birds. The flowers of Searsia Crenata are also a magnet for insects. Ornamental grasses are an excellent choice for attracting birds as they provide nesting material and a nutritious food source. Add water to the garden with a pond or sealed container to attract frogs, newts, dragonflies, and birds.
Make or buy bug/bee ‘hotels’ to provide shelter for ladybirds, lacewings and solitary bumble bees.
Plant some cool weather vegetables to enjoy through the Winter months. Pick a sunny spot that gets about four hours of sunlight a day.
Dig in some home-made compost and spread some over the surface of the soil to retain moisture.
Beets, Broccoli, Carrots, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chard, Peas, Broad Beans, Onions, Rutabugas, Spinach, and Kale can be started now. Edibles can also be grown successfully in containers