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Duration: 30 minutes

Autumn brings a change of mood to the garden, rich smells of wood smoke and ripening fruits pervade the air. It is a busy time for Carol - there are seedlings to be pricked out, tidying up to be done, and harvest time means there is an abundance of seed to collect.

Slugs and snails have ravaged the hot borders. Carol cuts back tattered foliage to reduce the damage just in time to open the garden to the public under the National Gardens Scheme.

October sees the leaves on the trees turn to gold, russet, amber and scarlet. They will need to be raked when fallen, and there are tulip bulbs yet to plant - the garden is visibly going to sleep - winter is on its way.

  • National Gardens Scheme – open day

    National Gardens Scheme – open day

    In September Carol opens her garden to the public for the National Gardens Scheme. Preparing for the day takes time but Carol finds sharing her garden hugely rewarding. The National Gardens Scheme (The Yellow Book Scheme) was founded in 1927. 

    Every year NGS gardens across England and Wales welcome over half a million visitors to over 3,700 gardens, many of which are privately owned. In the past ten years NGS open days have raised over £25 million for charity.

    National Gardens Scheme – find out more

  • Seed collecting

    Seed collecting

    Harvest time is not just about gathering in the last of the beans, onions, and apples. It is also about saving those tiny little time capsules that will provide us with our next generation of young plants.


    Seed collecting in Carol’s garden is ongoing; it starts in summer with the early flowerers like aquilegia and pulsatilla. But it is at this time of year that the garden produces seeds in abundance. Some seed can be stored in a cool dry place to be sown next spring and others can be sown straight away.

    More on collecting and storing seed

  • Autumn colour

    Autumn colour

    Autumn is the time when Carol’s garden takes on its autumnal hues. The leaves on her Cercidiphyllum turn russet then gold and the Acer becomes a mass of scarlet confetti. 

    Autumn is a good time for planting shrubs, and selecting a shrub specifically for its autumn colour will always enhance a garden. Equally, spring is a good time for planting, so if you still have a voucher left over from Christmas, go treat yourself, and look forward to the colours next autumn will bring.

    10 top shrubs for autumn colour

  • Making leafmould

    Making leafmould

    Making a leafmould pile in the autumn will provide Carol with a rich soil improver and top dressing for her beds. 

    Leafmould can also be mixed with equal parts sharp sand and used as potting compost. Whether you choose to store your leaves in open wire bays or in pierced bin bags, the result will be ‘gardening gold’ and what’s more, it is all for free.

    More on leafmould

  • Tulips


    Carol adores tulips but her soil conditions are not ideal; she has heavy slightly acidic clay, so she grows hers in pots. Not only do they grow strongly but they can also be placed around the garden just as they come into bloom. Carol likes to make her own potting mix that is equal parts multi-purpose and loam, with a good helping of grit added to improve drainage. 

    If you have ordered your tulips but have not got around to getting them in the ground, then as soon as the soil allows, pop them in. As spring gets underway they will soon catch up and be in full bloom come spring.

     BBC Gardening – Planting bulbs


Carol Klein
Executive Producer
Gill Tierney
Executive Producer
Sarah Moors


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