The summer holidays are over, the evenings are beginning to draw in, the mornings are chilly and another gardening season is over.
Wrong. The autumn is best seen as the start of the garden season, when you can plan for next year and gain real advantage from using the autumn/winter months, as well as having time to tidy up at the end of this year. To adapt an old adage, it would be true to say that every day spent gardening during the autumn will give you a weekís advantage come next spring.
Remember that while planting in spring and early summer is fine and when most of us do it, lots and lots of plants really benefit from getting their roots settled in quietly during the dormant winter period, when there is usually plenty of moisture around and they are not trying to grow at the same time.
It makes sense really: think of a plant as a juggler, being planted and getting roots settled at the same time as producing leaves and flowers is a bit like having three balls in the air at once. Planting in autumn or early winter spreads the workload and allows them to really settle.
This is especially true for shrubs and trees. Of course, you need to avoid planting anything that is not really hardy and would be threatened by frost. But for the others this is the time to buy and plant. However big or small your garden, it is likely that these plants, especially trees, will be something of a focus and not just decorative. It is easier to site them to best effect when your garden is not full of flowers and colour jostling for attention.
This is also the time of year to plant bulbs, which for me are one of gardeningís real joys. Quite simply there are bulbs suitable for any situation: meadows, woodland or borders, ornamental pots and planters or window boxes Ė you name it thereís a bulb thatíll do. With hardly any effort you can put in a few hours during the next few weeks and guarantee your garden will have something in flower from around Christmas time right into the summer just by selecting different bulbs from tiny cyclamen, crocus and early daffodils that will bravely pop up through a covering of snow, to iris, snowdrops, tulips and a host of others.
We have already got a fantastic range of bulbs for sale in the store and we are adding literally thousands of new names to all our other plant groups. Many are already available, like climbers and rhododendrons and the others will appear during the next week or two.
So donít look back to the summer thatís just finished. Look forward to the season that has just started, celebrate it by getting some new plants in early, and look forward to the sense of achievement next spring when your garden is already growing and not saying help!