The season has changed and with that so too has your garden. Although we will still have hot days and hopefully rainy days over the next few weeks it’s the cooler and longer nights that get the garden ready for its new look.
Early autumn is a great time to garden and for entertaining friends outside so let’s get into the #awesomeautumn spirit and sort out the garden for the Easter holidays.
Get some instant colour
Plant some Petunias! The secret to growing the best petunias is to plant them in the hottest spot possible, perfect for dressing up the entertainment patio. Petunias are water wise and only need water once a week to every ten days. Keep dead heading the spent flowers to keep them looking good.
In the coldest months Petunias will stop flowering but keep growing and then in August as the temperatures warm up they come back into flower and give the best show ever.
Snip and tuck
Getting things sorted in the garden and on the patio this time of the year keeps everything looking great right through to winter. General growth on trees and shrubs has slowed down and by pruning and shaping now they will keep tidy for the next six months or so.
Use a hedge cutter to shape your lollipops and hedges. A clean cut with a sharp blade is the best way to ensure that you don’t get die back. When shaping in autumn, do not cut back to deep there must still be leaves on the outside.
See it rather as a shave than a cutback. By cutting too far in there is not enough time for them to grow out completely.
Blitz the ants!
As we approach winter ants have already started to nest and forage around the house. After the drought we have had they seem even more than a problem this year than last year. Normally we leave them be but when they start to come inside and create chaos in the kitchen it time to make a plan.
Ant Traps are still the easiest way to get rid of ants indoors. Place the bait stations behind the curtains or where the ants come into the house and in a few days the worker ants will take the poison into the nest and thus successfully destroying the entire nest.
For ants outside especially under paving or along the house foundations we recommend you spray or drench Efekto Ant which is a contact insecticide and will stop the problem from getting out of hand.
Strawberry planting time
It is best to plant strawberries. By planting them now you get a great crop the first spring. Did you know Strawberries are the only fruit that has its seed on the outside? Strawberries, Fragaria, are quite easy to grow.
The best loved of all summer fruits; their sweet red berries are irresistible to almost everyone. Very quick to produce their fruits, strawberry plants are an excellent crop for the amateur and seasoned gardener alike.
Flower buds should be kept picked off during the first month or so after planting to allow the plant to establish itself and develop strength for a big crop.
The taste of home-grown garden strawberries is undoubtedly a hundred times better than the commercial varieties. Have a go at growing your own strawberries and for a fun holiday project for the children build a scarecrow to keep the birds off your precious fruit.
Read more on growing the best strawberries here.
Reminder for screening conifers
If you have screening conifers don’t forget to give them a dose of protection for winter. The Italian Cypress Aphid may attack certain conifer species in the winter months and into spring. Especially mature conifers. The damage, brown tips on random parts of the plant, normally only shows in September and October.
Apply a root drench with a systemic insecticide which is absorbed by the plant killing only sap-sucking insects and not beneficial ones now to protect them. The systemic insecticide Complete has a longer residual action and should only need two applications. You can also use Plant Protector as a systemic drench but it has a shorter residual time and we recommend applying every three months till the end of spring.
Conifers are sun-loving, drought-tolerant and hardy to severe frost. We recommend feeding established conifers with BioGanic organic fertiliser in autumn and maintaining a layer of mulch around their base which helps to keep them in good condition.