Although this is a time when gardeners traditionally start to clear up, if you want to encourage wildlife, you could adopt a more natural approach. Leaving seed heads, especially on plants such as teasels, thistles and sunflowers and allowing vegetation to die back naturally, provides food and shelter for birds. One lockdown surprise is seeing sunflowers in peoples gardens and, however big or small, they always deserve a smile. I know we have enjoyed growing them and thanks to our neighbour for the unexpected gift!
The end of the month is good for planting herbaceous perennials such as echinacea or eryngiums. The soil is still warm to encourage good root growth and there is usually enough rain to ensure plants don't dry out. Although container grown plants can be planted at any time, autumn gives them plenty of time to establish before winter.
It is also an important month for bulbs, corms and tubers. It is time to attend to bulbs which have just flowered, plant spring flowering bulbs outdoors, those that are to flower indoors during the winter and containers will still need attention to keep them in good condition.
Deadhead plants in hanging baskets, tubs and other containers often to keep them flowering and check regularly to see if they need watering. Feeding is still really important, reduce to once a fortnight by the end of the month because growth is slowing down. It's still not too late to take cuttings. Who doesn’t like plants for free and older plants may need replacing.
This is the month to sit back and really enjoy what you have grown or, indeed, other peoples hard work! Its been the best year ever for our Bramley apple tree and this is the month when they will be at their best. I hope we’ll have enough to share.
Forage for the last of the blackberries and get crumbling. Stay safe and enjoy nature it helps us in so many ways!