year-round garden

The perfect time to plant for a year-round garden

by Northern Life

During the summer months our gardens come into their own and we get to enjoy our outdoor space – because that’s just what it is, an extension of our home, a place to relax, play and entertain! So make it a beautiful and interesting place filled with colour and attractive focal points – whether a water feature or garden ornament, an arbour or quiet corner to relax. Add garden lighting to eek a few more hours out of those summer nights, and plant colour, scent and texture to allow your garden to stimulate all the senses.

But it’s worth remembering that you can also enjoy colour, scent and texture every season and create a garden that boasts autumn interest, winter colour and bursts into life once spring comes around again.

As September arrives so too does nature’s natural time for gardening. It isn’t just the time of year to tidy, prune and clear – although the effort now to tackle those autumn jobs will pay dividends next spring! With the earth still warm, it’s the perfect time of year to plant for a year-round garden!

Think about gaps in your beds and borders and adding colour for the colder months with foliage, stems and berried plants such as skimmia, gaultheria and pyracantha – all of which can be planted in autumn. Of course this is the time of year for hedging and trees, but cornus, calicarpa and euonymous can also be added to create impact all year round.

Spring-flowering bulbs are also a simple, affordable and rewarding way to give colour and scent to a winter garden that’s welcoming in spring. There’s always room for a few more bulbs and, planted now they’ll work their magic over winter to give you a welcome display on dark, dreary days.

Bulbs require very little effort, it’s as simple as choosing the bulb varieties you love and giving them the right conditions in which to flourish. Most bulbs love full sun and, with trees still in bud when they flower, this could be just about anywhere in your garden. Of course tulips, daffodils and crocus are classics but look out for new varieties to add to your garden this year.

The garden experts at Tong share their quick guide to buying and planting bulbs.

  • Buy bulbs early so they are as fresh as possible
  • Remember good bulbs are plump, firm and free from blemishes
  • Bulbs should also be a good size (for the type) as, if they are too small, they may not flower in the first year
  • Plant bulbs at the correct depth (as a general rule, plant at a depth two or three times the bulb height) with compost and a slow-release or control-released fertiliser
  • The best displays come from planting in clusters, and they look fantastic in containers

Jobs for August in the garden

  • Water, feed and deadhead summer bedding to prolong flowering
  • Keep pots, tubs and hanging baskets looking great by watering daily and feeding fortnightly
  • Pests and disease thrive in hot weather, so check plants regularly
  • Mow the lawn regularly and water well during hot spells. Applying a liquid lawn food will give it a pick-me-up
  • Cut back the old leaves of summerflowering perennials to encourage growth
  • Plug gaps in beds and borders with good-sized summerflowering plants
  • Give hedges a good trim to keep them looking neat and tidy

Autumn jobs for September

  • Plant spring flowering bulbs
  • Treat your lawn after summer’s wear and tear
  • It’s a great time to add plants as they’ll get established over winter
  • Cut back the flowering stems of perennials that are fading and dying down
  • Don’t be fooled by autumn showers – pots and hanging baskets still need watering
  • Start the autumn tidy up by giving the patio a good clean and raking up any leaves and debris for composting

With thanks to the expert gardener at Tong Garden Centre in Bradford. 0113 285 3506