Autumn in the garden


Autumn puts me in my comfort zone – crisp evenings and mornings, clear blue days, tinges of colour as trees gear up for the full colour parade. And, of course, the promise of rain fairly soon so that hoses can be rolled up!

Two garden tours came today, both wanting a focus on autumn which prompted me to write this, some thoughts on what to do (or not do), what to plant, what to harvest…… and so the list goes on! So, here are some thoughts, ideas, and tips as we head to winter.

To me, the most important thing is to watch the leaves change as it all happens so fast. When planting deciduous trees, remember that they all colour up at different times so choose carefully if you want contrasting colours at the same time. This is a Gleditsia, one of the finest yellow colouring trees but sheds its leaves early.

So often, gardeners cut the Hosta leaves as soon as they start dying back for winter. DON’T! As untidy as they may look let them die back and they will flatten with the first rains. Then, with the last lawn clippings of the season cover them lightly. This forms a fantastic mulch which Hostas need and by spring it will have decomposed and the new Hosta shoots will fly. 

This is a major cucumber enemy – downy mildew. If it has attacked and won because you did not apply a copper spray, then the main thing in autumn is not to put them on the compost heap as the spores will thrive over winter and come back to bite next season.

Herbs in a Tasmanian garden 

Many herbs are coming to an end for this season… but just leave a few to go to seed, hang and dry the seed and put your coffee grinder to work. You will cut your herb seed buying budget! This is parsnip (peppery and delicious) and others to save are parsley, fennel, celery, coriander, mustard and many more.

Then, for dried leaves cut and hang the stems of so many herbs before they die down for winter. Just a few that we do are oregano, fennel, parsley, sage, rosemary, mint, marjoram, hyssop.

Beans in your vegetable garden in Tasmania

Every time someone pulls out a dead or dying bean plant they are losing such a valuable asset. NEVER pull the beans out, cut them at the base leaving the roots in the soil. The roots are nitrogen factories with little nodules on the roots doing this extraordinary conversion to nitrogen. So, by leaving them in the soil you are cutting your nitrogen bill and becoming sustainable!  

Autumn is all about harvest and colour so I hope I have inspired you to look, harvest, protect and enjoy the wonder of this magical season in the garden.