Autumn in the garden

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Japanese Maple

Autumn would probably rate as one of my favorite seasons.  Not as showy as springtime and without the sizzle of summer, it's a mellow time with flashes of vibrant color with a constant reminder of the renewal cycle in nature where leaves fall and replenish the earth from which they had first gained nourishment.  Or perhaps it's because I'm nearing the autumn of my life that it holds a special place in my heart.  Anyone can plant a spring display but not everyone has a spectacular autumn garden.  That's because a lot of the spectacle in autumn gardens involves trees and trees take time.  That aside, what are your main autumn chores?


Early autumn is the time to plant your bulbs for a gorgeous spring display.  Decide if you want the bulbs to stay where they are in huge drifts of color or if you feel that they are getting somewhat crowded and would do well to be lifted and thinned out.  Whilst not all the 'bulbs' mentioned here are true bulbs, they are lumped here because they would be treated in a similar fashion.

Bulbs for mild winter climates : Snowflakes, Spanish Bluebells, Bearded Iris, Cyclamen, Sparaxis, Jonquils, Freesias.

Bulbs for frosty wintery climates : my beloved Tulips, lollipop Alliums, happy Daffodils, heady Hyacinths, elegant Nerines.

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Autumn is THE time to gather all the fuel you require to create earthy gold compost.  Find out the finer secrets of composting>.  If you have azaleas and camellias, they adore the rich mulch of oak leaves so don't waste any of these by emptying them into the garbage bin.

Autumn Flowers

Aside from the loveliness that is in autumn/winter flowering perennials like Camellias, what other flowers are available at your local nurseries to brighten up the autumn garden?  Ageratums, alyssums (sweet alice), snapdragons, marigolds, sweet peas, primulas (for color in shade), majestic lupins and my all time favorite happy plants pansies.

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Autumn Trees

Autumn is redecorating time in the garden.  With the soil temperatures not frozen solid but still warm and the weather milder to encourage slow steady growth it is the BEST time to be transplanting shrubs, trees or planting out bare-rooted specimens.  Or at least they have the best chance of surviving the shock of transplanting or planting.  Autumn allows them the adequate time to settle into their environment and then go into dormancy in winter all ready for that spring burst of color.  If you are planning on planting deciduous trees, now's the time to pick them in their full glory.  Choose between the deep reds, rich orange and luscious golds.  The general rule for most deciduous trees is the colder the winters the more spectacular the colors.

My personal favorites for autumn color :

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Autumn Gardens