Make most of autumn’s wonderful bounty

These are the final few weeks before 2015 decides that it has had enough and autumn gives way to winter. So, is it time for a cup of tea and a comfy seat from which to ponder how good – or bad – gardening has been this year?

Leaves are one of the great bounties of autumn.

September may mean that the garden is taking a last, great yawn before preparing to go to sleep until next spring, but the poor old gardener still has plenty of work to do.

The worst thing about this time of year is the leaves – trees want to have a rest and so they deposit vast numbers of leaves. They fill gutters, block downpipes, and blanket the ground with decaying vegetation. Hence the need to clear up and compost what is one of the great bounties of autumn.

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Sadly, it’s a task that will have to be done many times before the end of the year, but by clearing all those leaves, the gardener is removing a source of potential infection – and keeping things nice and tidy.

Naturally, there are plenty more jobs to do, not least taking advantage of the warm, moist soil to plant numerous trees and shrubs, climbers and perennials. Ground preparation is vital, so always spend the necessary time getting things just right. In the long term, it will pay dividends and save a lot of expense and heart break.Then make the most of the opportunity to move any shrubs or small trees which were planted in the wrong spot, take cuttings of roses, dig up and split overcrowded perennials (discarding the old, rotten centres),and re-seed, repair or even re-lay lawns. Sadly, there’s still no time to have a cuppa because there’s still a lot of work to do. Established lawns require a lot of work at this time of year – a late cut, then scarifying, aerating and edging before applying an autumn feed.

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable jobs of late September is planting up pots and containers of spring-flowering bulbs. Finally, harvest anything which looks as though it may be edible –fruit, herbs, late veg. Waste not, want not.Now, perhaps, you can get out the digestives. Better still, treat yourself to a vanilla slice.