JOHN’S JOURNAL

Autumn – The Best Time To Plant

Back in the day the Autumn was always the most important planting season of the year, allowing plants to get their roots down, settle in and establish ready for the following Spring, gardeners knew what they could grow successfully, home grown plants were in an abundance and it was a great chance to get one step ahead of the game for the season ahead…

Jet forward to nowadays, so often people have bought mass produced plants which simply don’t survive through the winter, scared of planting until Spring comes along, when the weather is fine and the season is upon us, bearing the best chance of success, it’s totally back to front!

At the nursery we pride ourselves on growing our plants outside and as mentioned last week we’ve just set 20,000 plants out in the growing field in the last few weeks ready to bear the harsh winter climates with a 100% knowledge they will be fine, we plant gardens up and down the country throughout September and October again making the most of this fantastic time of year waiting for those gardens to spring to life next year, it’s the way it used to be done and we love to embrace the growing months of September and October. So as long as you buy plants which have been grown outside now is a perfect time to look at your flower beds, have a shuffle around, even divide some of the plants you have and play around a little, also look towards including some new plants for next Spring, focus on the months when you feel it turned a little green and have a play around with your colours.

The Spring is a great time to also plant however Autumn is better, the soil is warmer, along with the moisture level being more controllable whereas in the Spring it can go from wet to dust in a matter of weeks! You also have a battle on your hands with the watering in the Spring, the plants trying to establish new root systems as the days continue to get longer and hotter, and in true British style a hosepipe ban can also be on the horizon sometimes!

At the nursery the plants also begin to change and adapt to the new season, winter evergreens begin to appear and plants with berries begin to emerge along with colourful Autumn leaves, such a beautiful time of year with 2021 fresh in our minds and a break from the garden lies ahead, time to reflect and plan and now is a perfect time to get one step ahead with your planting.

 

Q AND A

 

Which are the hardy Cyclamen?


Coum and C. hederifolium are two of the most popular hardy varieties, with coum flowering in the Spring and hederifolium flowering in the Autumn. Both of them have lovely detailed leaves and now is a perfect time to plant, they will naturalise in a shady aspect and set seed just after they flower.

 

What compost should I use for an Alpine trough?

Alpines generally like a mix containing 3 parts, 1 part multipurpose compost, 1 part John Innes No.2 which is a soil based compost for nutrient retention and then 1 part grit sand or pearlite to give drainage. You can use troughs or containers to make little Alpine gardens and incorporate a few pieces of feature rocks, smaller growing alpines like Silver Saxifrages and Sempervivums are perfect and you can then nestle them in-between the rocks making a miniature landscape

 

How often do I feed Autumn/Winter bedding?

Feed it every couple of weeks during October to help the plants establish and then feed again once they begin to grow in February. Tomato feed is a good feed to use as it helps promote flowers, you can also mix in slow release fertiliser when you plant in your compost to stop the plants relying on liquid feed.

 

 

1 – Divide and Replant Perennials

It’s a perfect time to dig up and make more of your existing perennials, mix in organic matter when you replant

2 – Plant Garlic

Plant Garlic Cloves in a sunny well drained position with 5cm of soil on top of the cloves

3 – Trim Raspberries and Blackberries

Trim fruited stems right down to the ground to help the plants focus on their new stems for next year

4 – Hang Dried Flowers

Cut bunches of flowers and begin to hang them upside down out of direct sunlight to get beautiful bunches of dried flowers for the Winter

5 – Begin to Clear Leaves

As they begin to fall gather them up and put them on your compost heap to make valuable compost for planting new plants later down the line

6 – Wildlife Shelters

Leave some plants to die back naturally and make a log stack in the garden for overwintering insects to hibernate in