Prune and tidy
Now is the ideal time to prune flowers like lavender, rambling roses, and wisteria to maintain a good shape, remove old stems and encourage healthy growth next year. It may not quite be autumn yet but leaves are still likely to have fallen and can make the garden look untidy, so collect any fallen plant debris and have a bit of a sweep to keep the area looking inviting and ready for you to enjoy with guests or on your own at a moment’s notice. Likewise, deadheading flowers not only keeps baskets and beds looking fresh but, when teamed with regular feeding, can also extend the life of summer-flowering bedding in some cases right up the first frosts.
Inject some more color
Just because summer is coming to a close, it doesn’t mean you need to spend months staring at drab empty beds and containers. Far from it! There are plenty of bright autumnal blooms that will instantly perk up your garden, terrace or balcony. Fill planters, window boxes or beds and borders with the likes of winter pansies, violas, chrysanthemums, primroses, Sweet William and Christmas roses (Helleborus) for an immediate injection of color. Alternatively, plant autumn and winter-flowering bulbs now for a stunning display in colder months. Species like Sternbergia – also known as the autumn/winter daffodil – can go in the ground in September, ready to bloom through October and November. Other options are autumn crocuses or cyclamen bulbs.
Add interest with attractive foliage in deep red and gold hues by planting varieties of Heuchera (coral bells), and Acers, which are compact and slow growing, making them the perfect choice for small spaces.
Give wildlife a helping hand
Encouraging wildlife to share your outdoor space can make it all the more enjoyable, giving you plenty to watch, helping improve biodiversity and also giving your plants a boost. If you grew sunflowers this year, leave the heads in place, so that birds can use the seeds as a food source, fill any gaps in your borders with late-flowering perennials, such as Sedums, Asters and Echinacea to provide pollinating insects with nectar during the autumn months. Clean and disinfect any bird feeders or tables to keep avoid spreading disease and keep feathered friends healthy this autumn and winter.
Give furniture some TLC
If you’ve had a summer full of outdoor entertaining, give your outdoor furniture some attention to make sure it’s still looking its best. Wipe down chairs and tables to remove dust, grime or cobwebs, check cushions for any signs of spillages and spot clean stains, where needed.
If your furniture is from LifestyleGarden, this job will be nice and quick. The beauty of the innovative material, Olefin®, that we use for cushions in our collections is that it is extremely durable, has excellent color fastness and is resistant to abrasions, stains, sunlight, fire and chemicals, making it extremely low maintenance. This means cushions will stay looking good as new, whatever the British weather, or your guests, throw at them! Soap, water and a wet cloth is all you need to remove any soiling and keep fabric looking pristine.
It’s not time to give up entertaining in the garden just yet but it’s definitely a good idea to give the space a spruce after a busy summer.