Glorious Gardens: What to plant this Autumn

Beaulieu Keep Garden

Amid the chaos of the past 18 months, many people have needed a creative outlook and space to breath. A lot of people have found increased enjoyment in spending time outdoors, and the nation has fallen in love with gardening.

Thanks to some delightfully warm weather this year, many of us have found our gardens to be a tranquil haven that we can design to reflect our personal style and needs. However, now that the days are getting shorter once again, it is time to start preparing your garden for the colder months ahead.

At Countryside, we understand the value of green spaces for our communities. They are spaces to exercise, socialise and learn. As well as providing private gardens for our homeowners to transform as they please, we also create unique public spaces that the whole community can enjoy together. When designing these spaces, we aim to ensure that our gardens have something different to offer with each passing season. Although many vibrant garden plants will not flower again until next spring, there are plenty of other ways to keep your garden looking at its best throughout autumn and winter.

There is a common misconception that once autumn sets in, you have to stop planting until the following spring. While it is true that many plants won’t survive harsh winter frosts and plummeting temperatures, there is still a lot that can be added to your garden in these months. Winter-flowering pansies can provide nice pops of colour throughout the winter, even when planted in late October. Autumn is also the perfect time to plant evergreens and conifers. At Beaulieu in Chelmsford, for example, we have incorporated Cedars and Pines to provide beautiful foliage all year round.

Communal gardens at Beaulieu
Communal gardens, Beaulieu

Although often underappreciated, a good lawn can really make or break your garden. Autumn is the perfect time to work on creating your own luxurious lawn. October is the perfect time . When maintaining an existing lawn throughout the cooler months, refrain from mowing too short or too frequently, as this will inhibit the development of a healthier lawn in the spring. Also take the time to cut your grass around borders and paths, to create neat edges.

Wildlife enjoys our garden all year around, but during autumn and winter these spaces can become intrinsic in their survival. If you want to support your local wildlife. avoid cutting back your hedges until the end of winter where possible. Hedgerows provide excellent shelter for a variety of small mammals and birds, helping to keep them safe from predators. The berries and fruits produced are also a brilliant food source for birds and they can also add an interesting splash of colour to your garden throughout the winter months.

St Luke's Park garden

One area of your garden that will really demonstrate all of your hard work over the past few months is your vegetable patch! There should be a variety of plants available to harvest throughout the autumn, including winter squashes, pumpkins, and carrots, but there is also still time to plant a few quick crops, like baby spinach, before the soil freezes. At Beaulieu, we are establishing a community fruit orchard. If you have a fruit garden at home, October is the perfect time to plant out strawberry bushes, as this should lead to bigger crops next summer.

Although there is plenty that you can do to establish a scenic garden long after summer ends, Autumn is also a great time to start planning and preparing from the following year. Plant spring bulbs in anticipation of the warmer weather to come. Clean out the greenhouse, ready for new plants. Cover vulnerable plants, or move them inside for safe keeping. Any work that you put in now will help you massively next year.