The Summer to Autumn Transition – Tips for Gardeners at a Tricky Time

The changing of the seasons is always a tricky time for gardeners at both an amateur and professional level with all kinds of treatments to carry out and tasks to be performed before the weather makes the inevitable change. While some plants and vegetables will continue to thrive in the current conditions, others need to be harvested before the ground starts to freeze or the rainfall increases and saturates the ground.


As a gardener, the transition from Summer to Autumn is one of the most challenging periods, but also one of the most amazing times to be out in the garden or down on the allotment because of all of the amazing colours and the rapid transitions – especially with trees – from fully-leaved to completely bare in a matter of weeks. It’s easy for some people, particularly those less experienced in the gardening world, for take the assumption that these trees changing colour and shedding their leaves is a sign that plants are going to start dying out and we have to quickly find the cutters and shears to save our gardens ahead of “the big freeze.”


However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a time of damage limitation, it can be a time of giving things more of a spruce and getting a head start on the environment. You can even be preparing your whole garden for the Winter and next spring as opposed to locking everything away in the shed to gather dust. For instance you could give your lawn mower a once-over, cleaning all of the grass away from the bodywork to stop it rotting over the Winter; while garden sheds themselves are often neglected and just used as dumping grounds. Giving them some treatment and repairing any existing damage will help to prolong their life and save you the money you would have to spend on a new one next Spring meaning you can splash the cash you’ve saved in other areas of the garden if you so wish.


One area you could reinvest that money – especially during the transition over from Summer to Autumn – is around the border of your garden with some new trees. Planting them at this stage in the year will enable them to take root in the ground while it is still soft enough, without being too moist, and they will then be solid in the ground by the time the strong winds and stormy weather arrives which, being the UK, it inevitably will at some point. In this instance, trees will help to protect the other plants in the garden and to take the wind away from those gorgeous sunny evenings spent outdoors (although you may have to wait a few years for this to take full effect when they’ve had the chance to grow tall enough).


If your garden features a border, or you’ve been thinking about creating one to go along your path or to skirt the main garden where the children play or you sit and entertain during the summer; then now is the time to start planting in your chosen area. The ground will be warm and filled with nutrients for your seeds and bulbs to take advantage before the big freeze, but be sure to plant the kind of plants that are likely to survive the cold weather. If you are able to do so, it will not only add a touch of colour and class to your garden during the Spring and Summer when you want to be outside, but also during the Autumn and Winter when the colours start to disappear from view.


A final tip is to consider your outdoor seating. During the summer months it’s simple, you just whip out the plastic chairs or gather around your wooden table and have a barbecue. In the Winter, however, you barely ever venture outside even if it’s a beautiful – yet crisp – day. This is often because it’s too much of a hassle to find the furniture and clean it for an hour or two. By installing an area of decking, however, you give yourselves a dry area to sit away from the mud (and snow!), and then you can incorporate the various styles of patio heaters and chimineas to provide some heat so you can enjoy the fruits of your labours in all their glory, and sit in the Winter sunshine (just go prepared for the chill!) 

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