Looking down on the garden through a frosty bedroom window at the moment can be surprising. With late summer plants and foliage dying down, your garden probably looks bigger than you thought it was! This is a good opportunity to look at where you need to be filling gaps, so this month we’ve got some bright ideas for late Autumn colour.
Just because it’s winter, the garden doesn’t have to look dull. These three lovely plants will brighten things up as the days get shorter.
This pretty plant contrasts a bright blue flower with dramatic purple leaves. It has two seasons of interest, spring and autumn, flowering in April / May with a good chance of continuing throughout summer. If the weather is mild in autumn it will suddenly reappear for a surprise late show. A lovely bright display for dull months, it grows well in hummus rich soil in a semi shade area.
This delicate grass grows slowly but when it’s at full size it makes an impressive structural addition to a border with an attractive light green / blue colour for summer and autumn colour. It’s native to North America but will grow happily in Oxfordshire gardens in dry soil in a sunny spot.
This large shrub generates gorgeous autumn colour because its leaves go from green to red then yellow as autumn arrives. It makes a beautiful background tree for autumn and winter inte
rest. Particularly good if you’ve got alkaline soil and a suitable partial shade position.
In the UK, the hedgehog used to be a familiar sight in gardens and in the countryside, but their population is in decline by nearly 30% due to shrinking habitats and environmental changes. There are several things you can do as a gardener to help keep hedgehog habitats going, and this time of year is particularly important as hedgehogs start to hibernate for the winter months.
- If you’re thinking of lighting a bonfire for November 5th, or just to clear garden debris, check the wood pile first for sleepy hedgehogs.
- Create log and leaf piles in the garden and leave them undisturbed for the winter – they make good hedgehog nesting sites.
- If you’re planning on strimming long grass, check for sleeping hedgehogs first.
- Hedgehogs feed on snails and worms, so dig over your borders to bring worms to the surface so they’re accessible.
Last Minute Garden Tasks before Christmas
- Cut back hedging and shrubs to get the garden looking tidy for winter.
- This is the peak time for leaf clearance, so rake up as many as possible from lawns and borders and compost, or leave in piles to make a nesting habitat for hedgehogs.
- Spread mulch onto borders to help keep soil conditioned and weeds supressed. You can use mulch from your compost heap, or if you don’t have a compost heap you can buy a soil conditioner from your local garden centre.