Autumn Gardening Tips from Head Gardener, Anna Chaffey

Following our wonderful Late Summer Garden Tour, a number of you asked us to share some of our best gardening tips as we move into autumn. With the September equinox marking the official start of autumn, and the ivy on the Hall turning its beautifully distinct rust red, we sought out Head Gardener, Anna, who was delighted to accommodate the requests. Below are a few of her top tips for any gardeners out there wishing to prepare their plots for autumn, winter and beyond…

“Autumn is the perfect time to get planting, the soil is warm and the moisture levels increase to allow plants to get comfortably established – all great gardeners know that planning well in advance is the key to creating a garden that is beautiful 365 days a year.” 

  • Consider what bulbs you want to plant this season, this will make for a truly rewarding spring display.
  • Collect and sow seed from perennials – seeds sown quickly fare better than those stored and sown later on.
  • For early blooms next year of sweet peas/ Ammi majus or other annuals sow in a greenhouse now.
  • Sharpen your secateurs ready for cutting back winter pruning (or send them off to a company for sharpening) – you’ll thank me when there’s a lot of pruning to be done!
  • Prepare a compost area for leaf collecting – it can be turned into beautiful leaf mulch for your garden. Leaf mulch prevents runoff by soaking up water and shelters plant roots from harsh sun. Trace minerals, such as magnesium and calcium, are also found in leaf mulch. It improves soil texture, too, making it friable and hospitable to helpful organisms.
  • Clean out cold frames ready for autumn and use them for any newly propagated plants.
  • In the vegetable patch, pick autumn raspberries, dig up any remaining potatoes to prevent slug damage and harvest and store onions to prevent them from becoming rotten.
  • If any dry periods occur (not that likely here in Yorkshire!) remember to keep watering new trees and shrubs with rain or grey water where possible. 
  • As the weather cools water indoor pot plants less, check to see if they need a water by seeing how light the pots feel or how dry the soil is to avoid overwatering.
  • For lawncare apply an autumn lawn feed (high in potassium) after scarifying and aerating.
  • Now is the ideal time to create a new lawn from either turf or seed!
  • If you suffer from vine weevil insects in your garden/greenhouse, now is the time to apply biological controls such as nematodes which are very easy to water on to problem areas.

Make sure you post any pictures of the Estate gardens with the hashtag #bowcliffehallgardens so we can share them, and look out for future dates for our garden tours and winter wreath making over on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

WATCH: Plant to Plate – Maintaining & Cutting Micro Greens with Head Gardener Anna

As a follow on from our ‘sowing micro greens‘ videos last month, this week we’ve been chatting to Bowcliffe Head Gardener Anna as she shows us how to maintain and cut micro greens and salad leaves for optimum flavour and aesthetic on your plate. At Bowcliffe, we cultivate as many of our fresh greens and vegetables as possible in the Potting Shed, just a moments walk from the Estate Kitchen. So if you’re ever dining in our Drivers’ Club, you’re likely eating herbs, greens and vegetables that are as fresh as they come!

We’d love to hear from you if you have any questions about the Estate gardens, so leave us a comment below, or message us over on Facebook, Twitter on Instagram (@bowcliffehall).