From Michael Coulter

May is the middle of the Autumn and we now see the trees dropping their leaves. The days are shorter and noticeably cooler so much of the garden work is controlled by the weather.

Leaves are a valuable resource to be used in compost making, mixing them with other green material, they will break down to make a compost, that will help to put back into the soil, humus and other minerals needed for healthy plant growth next season.

As the growing season draws to a close for Winter, spent crop residues may be composted as long as they have not been effected by any disease that could be carried over (tomato, potato, stone fruit leaf curl and black spot on apples/roses are examples of material that I would not use  in compost).

Summer perennials may be lifted and divided or cut back. Dahlias may be lifted now to over Winter away from the wet and frosts that may damage them.

Chrysanthemums can be lifted once they have finished flowering and put into seed trays to over winter before they produce new growth to be used for cuttings in the spring.

Moss control in lawns and pathways should be treated and general clean up of weeds in all the gardens completed before the on set of the colder wet weather of Winter begins.

Green houses and conservatories should be given a good clean out and any plants with pests and diseases either treated or disposed of, to prepare for the next Spring new growth. Any shading on the outside should be washed off to let in more light and repairs made to make the green house weather tight.

Now is still a good time to plant up pots of winter/spring flowering plants to give some colour around the house (I have a lot of pots that I can place around the terrace, steps and paths that add interest in the duller months).

Soon we will be thinking about the pruning of fruit trees, roses and many other deciduous plants so look at the tools, sharpen them and clean them up to get them ready to make the task easier.

Lawns are still growing rapidly and now is the time for de thatching, top dressing and improving aeration to get the grass ready for the winter in good condition.

Enjoy the lovely Autumn colours which are outstanding this year.

Happy gardening, Michael Coulter

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