An Autumn Approach

autumnThere was an Autumnal feeling in the air as I walked up the recently restored Dodder walkway. The light of the sun was reflecting off the giant glass dome that is the Aviva Stadium. The water in the Dodder was at rest following the turbulence of the recent heavy rains. The trees around me stood silently with thousands of different green leaves soon to be full of intoxicating delight with the withdrawal of the green pigment Chlorophyll from the leaves.

Nature stands at the sidelines preparing us for the falling leaves that herald Autumn. The trees it seemed to me were aptly playing out their own Olympic Games – an array of colour; copper, bronze and scarlet – a gold medal display in all its glory.

So Autumn approaches and it is time to turn your attention to your gardens as it embraces another season. Complete the planting of spring bedding, Wallflowers, Pansies, Bellis, Polyanthus, Forget Me Not, Crocus, Snowdrops, Daffodils. Then at the end of November add your Tulips. Prepare ground well and apply a general fertiliser before planting. After planting give all plants a good supply of water.

Gladioli should be lifted in October. Dry them off and store them in a dry place to be planted again next March and April. Pot up bulbs of Narcissi, Hyacinths and Tulips for an early display. Plant Allsyum Saxatile along with Arabis and Iberis Sempervirens now for a spring display. Don’t forget Aubrietia and Saxifrages. Consider a selection of crocus in grass around trees and shrubs.

This is a good time to plant roses, continue to cut the grass at a higher level and apply an Autumn feed. Give a light pruning to established roses and cut them back hard in February. Spray for greenfly if required. Roseclear is a name you can trust. From now until the end of November it is a good time to plant trees and shrubs. Avoid planting during December and January. Complete the trimming of established hedges and prune shrubs, if required. Plant window boxes and containers with heathers and winter-flowering Pansies. Although expensive, a group of Cyclem planted now will flower late into spring. These can be replaced with Polyanthus later on. Some plants tolerant of drought include Hebes (a huge selection) Berberis, Acuba, Vinca and the beautiful Weigela.

The lovely Agapanthus, a South African plant member of the Lily family is at its best when grown in large pots. They will thrive for years and flower best when undisturbed. Take note of watering, particularly during Winter months.

You can also plant now for Summer flowering – Magnolia, Rhododendron, Azalea, Skimmia, Escallonia, Spirea, Viburnum Lanarth – these are but a selection. As always, prepare the ground well and apply a general fertiliser and water well after planting. Apply a thick mulch and this will keep down weeds and retain moisture. Make sure that fallen leaves are gathered up regularly. This will keep your garden tidy and will also ensure garden paths are safe.

This has been a bad year for herbs with the exception of mint, a herb that thrived in the awful, wet Summer we just had. So replant your herb garden as soon as possible before the onset of Winter. Remember by September the strength of the sun and its rays diminishes day by day. Gladioli being natives of South Africa must have a sunny position, hence they have not been at their best these past few months.

So, as the days of Summer slip away enjoy the crimson glory of the setting Autumn sun and the transient nature of the Autumn colour… and please do take a photo.

By James O’Doherty