Colin Evans garden tips
The leaves are falling and the flowers are wilting. It's time to administer some much needed tender loving care. Also, Chrysanthemums are the natural choice when rejuvenating your home and garden this autumn.
At last the heating is on in the evenings. Even if it's just for a couple of hours, it takes the chill off the house. It's a reminder that autumn is well and truly here.
When I look out of my kitchen window, the lovely crimson leaves of the Maple tree are already leaving a red and bronze carpet on the lawn.
Once the lawn is dry, I'll get out there and clear the leaves and put them onto the compost heap. In fact, I'll keep the lawn free of any debris this autumn and winter. This will prevent the build up of fungal disease and large patches of moss.
When it's dry, try and cut the lawn to prevent the grass from getting out of control. This also makes the garden look much more attractive on dull wet days.
Although the garden still supports colour, we're getting to the stage when summer beddings need to be removed and new winter greenery planted. It's best to leave the borders to stand for a couple of weeks before introducing new plants.
This gives the ground a chance to rest before it uses all it's energy to support new plants. It also gives some time to feed the soil with a slow release granular fertilizer. Remember to dig in plenty of organic matter to bulk it up.
Plants grown outside are always well worth considering. However, I find indoor plants can be great on dreary days.
One of my favourites is Gardenia Jasminoides. So many of us choose to ignore this exotic plant because it's hard to grow.
This plant was really popular in the Victorian era. They had more success because central heating wasn't around and rooms stayed relatively cool. The main problem now is too much heat and tap water.
Most grow well in cool conservatories or heated greenhouses. However, the same conditions can be created indoors, with a little thought.
The beautiful yellow creamy flowers and dark green foliage with their heady perfume of hot tropical nights will be a welcomed addition to any room.
Don't use tap water to spray foliage as this is too chalky. Instead use rainwater. Kept cool and given plenty of natural light, this terrific indoor plant will look a picture.
Around this time of year, greenhouses can look very bare and sad. To spruce them up, buy some colourful pot grown Chrysanthemums from the garden centre. Place them on benches and on the floor of your greenhouse.
Chrysanthemums will tolerate cold temperatures and even the odd touch of frost. Keep them just moist and add a little liquid feed from time to time. Continue removing dead flowers back to a healthy bud and the plants will flourish all through the winter months.
When they are past their best, reduce the plants in height and plant them outside in a sheltered spot. If Chrysanthemums are not your thing then place pots of rose plants there instead.
Before laying turf, plant some spring flowering bulbs underneath. The foliage spring flowering bulbs need to be left uncut for at least six weeks after the flowers have died off.
Ensure they are planted in groups where they can be left growing in the lawn, untouched until early spring.
If the foliage is cut down too soon they are liable to appear next year without any flowers. When choosing bulbs go for the miniature types. Plant them under trees and on the edges of the lawn.
Plants in containers may well need re potting into bigger pots. I always favour terra cotta planters. They not only look natural, but they also allow the roots to breathe and make uniform growth.
Give the plant a good watering the night before and plant them into a new multi purpose compost, then firm in and water. The plants will benefit and grow better next season.
last updated: 18/09/2008 at 13:24
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