Getting to grips with autumn

Cooler days and nights have arrived and in true autumn form the change in weather patterns is turning the leaves to gold, burgundy and pumpkin before they float gently to the ground. For many avid gardeners that is the signal to snip, prune, compost and plant anew.



The compost equation: All those lovely crunchy leaves make great compost, layered of course with other organic garden waste, a few worms and lots of water. You might also try mixing in a few bits of seaweed from your local beach but be sure to soak it for several days in clean water to remove excess salt.

Pruning practice: As lignification sets in and plant stalks become harder and more woody, it is time to cut them down to size in preparation for new spring and summer growth. Unless you really know what you are doing, when it comes to pruning, less is best.

Planting particulars: Spring and summer bulbs should be going into gardens and pots around this time. Mass plantings always look fabulous, and so too do complementary and contrasting plants. Think textures, heights and colours such as purple, blue and yellow Dutch irises and golden daffodils, blue grape hyacinths with creamy freesias.

Green goodness: If you decide it is out with the old and in with some new, consider compact evergreens for foliage and also for feature landscaping. Check out some of the native hebes especially the mounding varieties, the hardy rengarenga lilies and silver grey kakaha (silver bush flax).

Nature knows best: Take a leaf out of nature for colours, species and design ideas. Don’t go overboard, however. A totara tree may look great in an alpine environment, but is definitely not suitable for a small suburban backyard!


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