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Green Fingers – Gardening tips for the season

Story Homes’ developments look green and beautiful thanks to the planting skills of Westwood Landscape. MD Bruce Walker shares his tips for getting your garden Autumn-ready:

The season of mellow fruitfulness is almost upon us, and as our gardens give up their bounty it’s time to put in the hard work that will carry them comfortably through the hard months of Winter and into a successful Spring. As the days shorten, remember to lift the blades on your mower. Grass starts to grow less fast, and too harsh a cut too late in the year can weaken it.

Admire the lovely Autumn leaves, but not for too long. Clear the fallen ones regularly and add them to your compost heap – you can also put them in black bags for a year or so to make a nutritionally-rich mulch.

One joyous task that will pay dividends later is planting out bulbs to create an explosion of colour next Spring. There are plenty of unusual varieties around – we love Tulip Purple Wow (Tulipa), which produces a beautiful ruffled peony-type flower that’s almost blue.

Autumn is also the time to plan for some colour in the garden through Winter, and you can plant out hardy specimens such as pansies now to provide a splash of brightness. Look out, too, for something a little different – the lovely Sarcocca produces delicate pink blossoms even in the depths of Winter, and is also highly-scented – a real bonus.

Another scented lovely is the Coronilla valentina (subspecies glauca), a small evergreen shrub which produces gorgeous bright yellow clusters of pea-sized flowers with a delicate fragrance. As the foliage disappears during the colder months, structure becomes important, so it’s a good idea to choose some plants that reveal their true beauty in the darker months.

Cornus sanguinea Winter Flame, for instance, the common dogwood, reveals a spectacular fan of red-orange stems to brighten any corner, and will reward you with tiny white flowers in Spring.

This is also the time of year to cosset your pot plants, lifting them onto feet to make sure they don’t get soggy bottoms. Tender plants need moving to a frost-free place or greenhouse, and you can also use fleece or bubble wrap to protect your pots. So there’s plenty of work ahead to keep you busy in the garden. And the nice thing is, with careful planting you know you might not even have to wait until next Spring for it all to pay off.

Wrap a bow on these tasty treats below, and you have a home-made gift to suit any occasion.

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