Gardening novices, this is for you! Here we bring together the main points of what to do in autumn, with links to our more detailed blog posts.

Autumn begins on 22nd September 2017. It’s not as busy a time in the garden as the spring but there’s still lots to do.

Things to do ‘just because’ - gardening novices and everyone else

  1. Autumn can be a great time for flowers and berries in the garden. This season’s colours are strong, warm and glowing. When the weather is still kind it’s relaxing and peaceful to walk around and think what would look good in your garden.
  • The stunning Japanese maple has spectacular leaves in autumn. It works well in containers and in smaller gardens.
  • Strong purple Michaelmas daisies.
  • Tall and silky Japanese anemones, white or pink.
  • The fabulous ice plant, Sedum spectabile, is a bee and late butterfly magnet and works well in pots and containers.
  1. It might feel a bit chilly to us, from time to time, but the weather is certainly warm enough to take and root late summer and early autumn cuttings. Would you like to have more of that particularly lovely pelargonium (geranium)? Or those great fuchsias? Take cuttings: it’s not difficult.
Japanese maple at Shitennō-ji Honbō Garden in Osaka. Gardening novices

Japanese maple at Shitennō-ji Honbō Garden in Osaka
©Laitche and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International licence

Things to do because of the change in the weather

  1. Help your autumn lawn.

If your abs and arms need a bit of a workout but you don’t want to spend time inside in the gym, I recommend paying a bit of attention to your lawn. This is the time of year to ‘scarify’ it. That means going over it with a rake, pulling out all the loose bits of grass, twigs and moss. Just raking it will make a big difference to how it looks and feels next summer (and how your abs and arms look and feel too). Giving it a feed will boost it further.

  1. Protect tender plants.
  • Bring houseplants that have been outside for a summer holiday back indoors. And herbs will enjoy a sunny windowsill over the autumn and winter.
  • Make sure that winter containers are near a wall or in a sheltered (but not damp or soggy) corner rather than in an exposed spot. Other plants like pelargoniums are better in a cool and frost-free place.
Pelargoniums high above the Hebden Water valley, Calderdale. Novice gardeners

Pelargoniums high above the Hebden Water valley, Calderdale. These tender plants are in the porch, safely out of the frost.
© Copyright michael ely and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0

  1. Stop feeding them and start to protect them!

Stop feeding plants in pots and start thinking about protecting plants from frost which can strike exposed areas in October (and kill or damage your plants).

  1. Protect and store your BBQ and rattan furniture.

You’ve got suitable covers for your garden furniture? More about looking after your rattan investment here.

  1. Stake and tie things down that might blow away.
  • See above for furniture.
  • Stake bigger plants which are going to stand the winter, like cabbages, kale and other winter greens. Push a short cane or stick close to the plant stem and tie them together.

A final word. Experienced gardeners were all gardening novices once. Most are happy to pass on what they've learnt so, in garden centres or out and about, just ask them for advice.